UN: Asia Hardest Hit by Climate Disasters in 2023 Amid Record Temperatures

Asia was the world's most disaster-hit region in 2023 due to climate and weather hazards, with floods and storms causing the most casualties and economic losses, according to a UN report. The region faces escalating climate change impacts, urging action on adaptation and mitigation.

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Nitish Verma
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UN: Asia Hardest Hit by Climate Disasters in 2023 Amid Record Temperatures

UN: Asia Hardest Hit by Climate Disasters in 2023 Amid Record Temperatures

Asia was the world's most disaster-hit region in 2023 due to climate and weather hazards, with floods and storms causing the most casualties and economic losses, according to a United Nations report released on April 23, 2024. The region experienced accelerated warming, melting glaciers, and record-high temperatures in Japan and the northwest Pacific Ocean.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that Asia was warming faster than the global average, with temperatures in 2023 nearly two degrees Celsius above the 1961 to 1990 average. The impact of heatwaves in Asia was becoming more severe, and the region's water security was threatened by melting glaciers. Over 80% of the 79 reported water-related disasters in Asia were floods and storms, resulting in more than 2,000 deaths and affecting 9 million people.

Many countries in the region experienced their hottest year on record in 2023, with a series of extreme conditions like droughts, heatwaves, floods, and storms. Severe heat waves in India, Southeast Asia, and other parts of the region resulted in numerous fatalities. The High Mountain Asia region, centered on the Tibetan Plateau, saw most of its glaciers continuing to retreat at an accelerating rate.

Why this matters: The UN report highlights the urgent need for action to address the escalating impacts of climate change in Asia. As the region faces increasing risks from extreme weather events and rising temperatures, it is crucial for governments and communities to prioritize climate adaptation and mitigation measures to protect lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems.

The WMO emphasized the urgent need for national weather services across the region to improve tailored information to officials working on reducing disaster risks. "Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the evolving climate is a fundamental necessity," the report stated. Experts have highlighted the significant vulnerabilities of Asia, including India, to the escalating threats of climate change and the urgent need for financial and technological support from wealthier nations to enhance disaster preparedness and implement effective adaptation strategies.

Key Takeaways

  • Asia was the world's most disaster-hit region in 2023 due to climate and weather hazards.
  • Asia experienced accelerated warming, melting glaciers, and record-high temperatures in 2023.
  • Over 80% of the 79 reported water-related disasters in Asia were floods and storms, affecting 9 million.
  • The UN report highlights the urgent need for action to address the escalating impacts of climate change in Asia.
  • Experts emphasize the significant vulnerabilities of Asia to the threats of climate change and the need for support.