Natural and conflict related hazards in Asia-Pacific: risk assessment and mitigation measures for natural and conflict related hazards in Asia-Pacific

Natural and conflict related hazards in Asia-Pacific: risk assessment and mitigation measures for natural and conflict related hazards in Asia-Pacific

Can policy measures designed to enhance disaster preparedness help mitigate the risk of armed conflict?

Natural hazards, driven by geological and hydrological processes, affect many countries in Asia. This report presents the results of a previous study that aimed to quantify the risk posed by earthquake, flood, landslide, cyclone and tropical storm, tsunami, and drought in the Asia-Pacific countries. In addition, the report examines the issue of social unrest in the form of intra-state armed conflict.

The paper suggests three key pillars for the reduction of risks  associated with natural hazards in developing countries:

  • hazard and risk assessment
  • implementing structural and non-structural risk mitigation measures, including early warning systems
  • strengthening national coping capacity to address a wide range of hazards, especially rare events like tsunamis
Highlighting the issue of risk mitigation, the paper shows that it includes:
  • geo-technical measures
  • political measures
  • legal measures
  • administrative measures
Mitigation also includes efforts to influence the lifestyle and behaviour of endangered populations in order to reduce the risk. On the other hand, international cooperation and support are highly desirable. The capacity building initiatives should focus on institutions dealing with disaster risks and disaster situations in terms of:
  • risk assessment and communication
  • risk mitigation
  • disaster preparedness
  • warning and response
  • recovery enhancement
Furthermore, the paper reveals that implementing policy measures designed to enhance disaster preparedness are also likely to mitigate the hazard of armed conflict. In this sense, it notes that although the connection between natural disasters and armed conflict is poorly understood, it is well known that natural disasters can work to trigger the onset of armed conflicts. Alternatively, natural disasters can exacerbate the background factors associated with such clashes.
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