NUSA DUA, Bali (JP): Indonesia, home to more than 200 million people is ranked third among the world’s nations most affected by extreme weather events due to climate change.
The archipelago comes after the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Korea, where climate change has affected thousands of people, mostly through flooding, a report says.
The report of global climate risk index, by the German-based environment research organization Germanwatch and the world’s largest insurance company Munich Reinsurance, said that the Asia region suffered far more storms, floods and extreme weather than wealthier countries, which contributed most to the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming.
“The most effected countries in 2006 were the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of Korea and the host of ongoing climate change summit, Indonesia.
“In both the Philippines and Indonesia, there were almost 1,300 deaths and damages ranging in the billions of dollars due to storms and floods,” Sven Harmeling, senior adviser climate and development of Germanwatch, told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing climate change conference in Bali.The report recorded 21 extreme weather events hit Indonesia last year with 1,297 deaths and US$0.27 losses per GDP.
“For Indonesia itself, it will be a signal that the country must do more to prevent the floods and find ways to resolve the problems such as by building a lot of flood shelters as done by Bangladesh,” he told The Jakarta Post.
The study identifies the countries most affected by extreme weather events based on indicators, among others, of the total number of deaths, the deaths per 100,000 inhabitants and percent losses per unit of GDP.
The report listed the top ten countries most affected by extreme weather events are the Philippines, Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, India, China, Afghanistan, the United States and Romania.
“In Korea, there were four times as many deaths per 100,000 inhabitants due to the weather extremes than were in Indonesia,” he said.
Peter Hoeppo, head of the Geo-Risk research department of Munich Reinsurance, said that the incidence of natural disasters through wind storms had doubled, while the frequency of floods and other extreme weather events, such as heat waves and drought also quadrupled.
He said that the rich countries were the main causers of the climate change, and has a responsibility to support processes in preventing the dangers.
The report says in the period of 1997 to 2006, extreme weather killed over 200,000 people with $750 billion of direct economic losses around the world.
The Munich Reinsurance foundation said that long-term studies revealed that about 80 percent of the victims come from poor countries.
Harmeling of the Germanwatch said that the adaptation fund should be provided based on the vulnerability of nations to the climate change.
A study by the Germanwatch and Climate Action Network (CAN) - Europe earlier ranked Indonesia as the 15th best state in promoting efforts to slow the climate change.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Development Programs (UNDP) called for a stepped-increase in financing for adaptation, saying that US$86 billion annually in a financing commitment was needed by 2015.
“The number is large but so is the human cost of climate change,” said Kevin Watkins, lead author of the UNDP Human Development Report’s Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World on the sidelines of Bali conference on the climate change.
The report accused developed countries of leaving the world’s poor to sink or swim on their own resources.
Watkins said that the rich countries should put adaptation issues to climate change at the center of the high-level political negotiation in Bali.
“Having created the climate crisis developed nations must face up to their responsibilities, including the responsibility to protect the potential victims,” Watkins said. (Adianto P. Simamora)
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