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Business News/ Economy / India hit by a fourth of Asia Pacific's $230 bn economic loss due to weather disasters
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India hit by a fourth of Asia Pacific's $230 bn economic loss due to weather disasters

Data shows that 54 million people, or two-thirds of the 82.1 million people in the South Asia region affected by weather-related disasters during 2019 and 2023, were from India.

India also accounted for 10,000 deaths during this period due to weather-related disasters. (Photo: Reuters)Premium
India also accounted for 10,000 deaths during this period due to weather-related disasters. (Photo: Reuters)

New Delhi: India suffered damages of over $56 billion due to weather-related disasters in the five years between 2019 and 2023, accounting for the bulk of damages suffered by South Asia and a fourth of the $230 billion hit to countries in the Asia Pacific region, Asian Development Bank (ADB) said citing data from Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (Cred). The Brussels-based agency relies on UN and non-government agencies, reinsurance companies and other sources for data. 

Data also shows that 54 million people or two-thirds of the 82.1 million people in the South Asia region affected by weather-related disasters during the period were from India. Within the Asia Pacific region, India accounts for 21% of the 256 million persons affected during the period. ADB shared the information in response to a query from Mint on the impact of climate change in the Asia Pacific region.

India suffers most damages

India accounts for most of the economic and human losses in South Asia region. South Asia as a whole, comprising India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka suffered the second highest damages at $59.2 billion during the period, after the East Asian region consisting of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, North Korea, Japan and Mongolia that lost $130.7 billion due to weather-related disasters. 

India also accounted for 10,000 deaths during this period due to weather-related disasters, representing a majority of the 11,995 deaths in South Asia and a little more than two-fifth of the total 23,525 deaths recorded in the Asia Pacific region during this period due to weather-related disasters. Central Asian countries, which include Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and West Asian nations such as Israel, Turkiye, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, accounted for 4,723 deaths during the period, the second highest after South Asia.

ADB climate envoy Warren Evans told Mint that climate change increases the risks posed by natural hazards and that the multilateral bank is working with its developing country members to understand, reduce, and manage disaster risk. “We provide solutions and finance to strengthen the capacity of communities, services, and financial systems to address these challenges," Evans said. 

Addressing impact of climate change

New Delhi has been taking steps to address the adverse impact of climate change and has announced aggressive targets to cut emissions including a net zero target to be achieved by 2070. India updated its commitment to reduce green house gas emissions in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in August 2022, after achieving what was committed in 2015. India had in 2015 set a target of having 40% of its installed power capacity from non-fossil fuels by 2030 but achieved the target well ahead of time. By 2023, it had crossed 43%, the ministry of environment and forests said in its annual report for 2023-24. India had also committed in 2015 to cut down the carbon intensity of its economy by 33-35% over 2005 levels, and achieved a 33% reduction between 2005 and 2019, as per the ministry. 

New Delhi has been maintaining that its historical contribution to cumulative global green house gas emissions is minuscule, despite having a share of 17% of the world’s population and that its per capita annual emissions are about a third of the global average. India has been advocating equitable climate action by nations based on principles of justice and shared responsibilities.

Also read | States to draw up customised action plans to tackle health effects of climate change

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Published: 16 May 2024, 06:10 PM IST
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