String of disasters exacts heavy damage, human toll in Asia
BANGKOK (AP) – A recent string of natural disasters, the latest a deadly earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, have exacted a severe toll both in economic damage and human lives throughout Asia. The U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, or UNISDR, says up to 1.6 million people could be affected by the magnitude 7.5 earthquake and the tsunami it created Friday in a central region of Sulawesi island.
Such disasters tend to hurt the poorest people in the poorest countries most severely, even if the economic toll can be highest in more affluent countries like Japan. Annual losses from disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons average $250 billion to $300 billion, according to UNISDR, with the largest share in Asia. Indirect losses over time can be worse than the immediate costs.
A look at the costs for the region for just a handful of the worst calamities in the past several months: