Why Asia Pacific?
Peace Winds America targets the most natural disaster-prone region in the world – the Asia Pacific. By empowering communities and responders before and after natural disasters strike, we prevent a natural disaster from becoming a humanitarian crisis.
A Recipe for Disaster in the Asia Pacific…Poverty, Population Density, and Natural Disasters.
The Asia Pacific is the most natural disaster-prone region in the world. Located along the hazardous ‘Ring of Fire,’ this region is ground zero for nearly half of all natural disasters on earth – from tropical storms and typhoons that bring deadly floods and mudslides to volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and the tsunamis they trigger.
One-third of the world’s population lives in the Asia Pacific. Cities are rapidly expanding to accommodate industrial growth without adequate resources for development planning, and rural populations continue to settle vulnerable land as it becomes a scarce resource. The result is a trend towards increasing fatalities due to natural disasters.
Despite growing economies, the Asia Pacific is still home to almost half of the world’s poor. Impoverished nations are hit hardest by natural disasters and the least equipped to deal with them, creating a vicious cycle of poverty. Constantly struggling to recover from the latest flood or earthquake, developing countries can less afford the preparedness measures needed to prevent future crises.
The frequency and intensity of natural disasters are on the rise in
part due to climate change and environmental degradation.
Between 1998 and 2008, nearly 750,000 people died in Southeast Asia
alone from causes related to natural disasters.
Low to middle income groups represent 95% of natural disaster fatalities.
The Recent Past
The eyes of the world were opened when the 2004 Asian Tsunami, one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history, flooded coastal communities with waves up to 100 feet high – killing over 230,000 people in 14 countries in the Asia Pacific, with Indonesia suffering the highest casualties. In the years since, statistics tell a tragic human story:
- In 2008, 98 percent of all fatalities related to natural disasters occurred in Asia. Two of these disasters, the Sichuan earthquake in China and Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, left 232,255 people dead.
- In Asia, from 1980 to 2008, earthquakes caused 466,000 deaths and $194 billion in economic damages; tropical storms killed 277,000; and flooding affected 1.2 billion people.
- In 2009, natural disasters affected close to 7 million people, left nearly 156,000 people homeless, and caused more than $227 million in economic damage.
- In one week in 2009, Typhoon Ketsana caused the death of at least 489 people in the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia; a tsunami killed at least 132 people in Samoa and left 10,000 homeless; and a massive earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra, leaving over a thousand dead and 1.25 million affected by loss of their homes or livelihood.