The Asia and Pacific region is home to more than half of the world’s population. Its vast and diverse landmass allows for varied and extreme weather patterns as well as a high level of ethnic and cultural diversity, making it particularly prone to both natural hazards and conflicts.
The Asian continent and the Pacific region encompass a broad array of high-risk zones such as river basins, flood plains, seismic fault lines and volcanic landforms. They regularly bear the brunt of recurrent floods, cyclones, droughts, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
In the recent past, the region has been struck by some of the worst natural hazards worldwide, including in 2019 the disastrous floods in Iran and in 2020 the tropical cyclones and floods in India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Vietnam, and the Pacific region.
Over the last decade, some 500,000 people in the region have lost their lives due to disasters, and over 1.4 billion have been affected.
The combination of urbanisation, deforestation, climate change and higher population densities in disaster-prone areas may result in yet more frequent and intense hazards, which are likely to have an increased impact on a larger number of people in the future.
Numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths have been increasing since 2020 in many Asian countries, notably India, Iran, Nepal, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Vaccinations continue to be very slow in most countries due to supply problems.
Home to a wide range of ethnic groups, cultures, religions, and languages, many countries in Asia and the Pacific have also often witnessed armed conflicts and outbursts of communal violence, leaving millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance.
After 4 decades of conflict, Afghanistan is at a turning point in its history and half of its population is in need of humanitarian aid.
The situation in Myanmar continues being of serious concern. Following several waves on internal repression, many stateless Rohingya fled Myanmar and found refuge in Bangladesh and other Southeast Asian countries. Bangladesh alone is presently hosting almost a million of Rohingya refugee entirely reliant on humanitarian assistance.
The European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department has been present in Asia and the Pacific since 1994, addressing urgent needs of the most vulnerable populations affected by both natural hazards and human-made disasters.
In addition, the Commission has funded a number of disaster preparedness programmes in the region since 1996. The aim is to reduce hazard risks and build resilience amongst vulnerable groups in areas that are highly exposed to natural hazards.