30 Million People in Asia Displaced by Extreme Weather in 2010

More than 30 million people across Asia were displaced by environmental disasters and weather-related events in 2010, a new report warns, and the region will become increasingly vulnerable as the effects of climate change grow. And with the frequency of extreme weather events expected to increase in the coming years — including floods, droughts, and major storms — the Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicts that tens of millions more people across Asia and the Pacific will be forced to migrate to other regions. While it is impossible to predict the scale and scope of the potential threats, governments can identify which areas are most vulnerable and start planning for the effects on services and infrastructure, said Bart W. Edes of the ADB’s Regional and Sustainable Development Department. The cost of adaptation efforts, including construction of sea walls and the restoration of mangrove swamps to reduce storm surges, could exceed $40 billion, the group predicts. But the bank, which is working on developing policy solutions, says the displacement of populations will lead to increasing economic volatility, regional conflict, and human suffering.