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Asia hit hardest by climate-related disasters in 2023


Published: 20:33, 23 April 2024

Update: 20:52, 23 April 2024

Asia hit hardest by climate-related disasters in 2023

Photo: Collected 

Asia was the worst disaster-hit region from weather, climate and water-related hazards last year as floods and storms caused the most fatalities and economic losses, the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Tuesday (23 April).

"Asia and the Pacific remained the most disaster-impacted region in 2023. Floods and storms continued to cause most disaster-related deaths and economic costs, as they affect the largest number of people. At the same time, the impact of an increasing number of heatwaves was also more severe," the State of the Climate in Asia report read.

The mean temperature over Asia in 2023 was the second highest on record at 0.91 degrees Celsius (1.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1991–2020 average and 1.87 degrees Celsius above the 1961–1990 reference period. Particularly high temperatures were recorded from western Siberia to central Asia and from eastern China to Japan, while Japan and Kazakhstan had seen record warm years, the report also said.

Overall, 79 disasters mostly linked to floods and storms resulted in over 2,000 deaths and affected a further 9 million people.

"The report's conclusions are sobering. Many countries in the region experienced their hottest year on record in 2023, along with a barrage of extreme conditions, from droughts and heatwaves to floods and storms. Climate change exacerbated the frequency and severity of such events, profoundly impacting societies, economies and, most importantly, human lives," WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo was quoted as saying in the report.

The WMO has earlier published a forecast indicating that global temperatures could reach record highs over the next five years. This would be exacerbated by the anthropogenic factor, that is, greenhouse gases, and a natural factor — the change in phase of ocean currents from La Nina to El Nino, which began last summer.