Asian countries are among the most at risk to climate-related disasters. From 1970 to 2014, more than 2 million people died from natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP, 2015). About 6 billion people in the region were affected by disasters over the same period with floods and drought affecting the highest number of people. At the same time, economic losses increased by almost 15 times since 1970 while the region’s GDP only grew 5 times with more than US$1.15 trillion lost during this period.
Monsoon Asia is affected by a range of natural disasters, most of which are exacerbated by climate change. In the dryland regions, drought and other climate extremes such as zud have impacts on both natural ecosystems and societies. The economic impacts on local communities can be devastating. In mountains areas, natural hazards include GLOFs, landslides and related debris flows. Cyclones impact on the extensive coastal areas of monsoon Asia. Flooding is a common problem across the region, but it is an increasing hazard in urban areas where the natural land surface is changing significantly.
Research on mechanisms of natural disasters, on the impacts of disasters on natural and societal systems, and on responses to mitigate and adapt to disasters is relevant across monsoon Asia, where there is potential for cooperative activities across a wide range of stakeholders. The application of research to practical outcomes needs to take into account the different perceptions of natural disasters in different communities.