Cyclone Hudhud that lashed India’s south-eastern coast was the second costliest disaster of 2014 in Asia-Pacific region causing losses worth USD 11 billion, a UN report today said while praising the disaster preparedness and “timely” evacuation that saved many lives.
The 41 fatalities associated with the cyclone, a Category 4 storm that hit coastal Andhra Pradesh and Odisha in October, were considered “relatively low.”
The report presents a diagnostic analysis of the region’s state of resilience and lessons learnt.
The highest economic losses in Asia and the Pacific were incurred from river-basin floods, USD16 billion, and Cyclone Hudhud in India, said the report titled ‘The Natural Disasters in Asia and the Pacific: 2014 Year in Review.’
The other costliest disasters were Ludian earthquake in China (USD6 billion), and the tropical cyclones Lingling and Kajiki in Japan (USD5.2 billion), said the report released today by UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
“The successful preparation for cyclone Hudhud and typhoon Hagupit lies not only in the ability to predict the movement and intensity of storms, but also the capacity to engage and mobilise vulnerable communities in disaster preparedness,” said Shamika Sirimanne, Director of ESCAP’s ICT and Disaster Risk Reduction Division.
The report said: “The local government made arrangements to shift half a million people...Timely and massive evacuation saved lives.”
“These disasters also show, as countries grow rapidly, their assets and especially their critical infrastructure, are increasingly exposed to disasters,” it said.
The report further said the region experienced severe storms, cross-border floods and landslides, which accounted for 85 per cent of all disasters in 2014.
In total, India incurred USD 27 billion of economic losses, which is at least 45 per cent of the Asia-Pacific region’s total losses.
China reported losses of 23 billion dollars from disasters in 2014.
Trans-boundary floods that affected India and Pakistan resulted in losses of at least USD 18 billion, the largest of which was the river basin flood in Kashmir that caused 1,281 fatalities and USD 16 billion in damages.