Climate change means 2011 disaster could be repeated, experts warn. There is no guarantee that Bangkok will not experience another flood like the 2011 disaster, given the threat of severe weather caused by climate change.
Hence, water experts see the need for further preventive measures from the new Bangkok governor and closer collaboration with the national government to mitigate future negative impacts.
“No more blame game,” Professor Dr Thanawat Jarupongsakul, head of Chulalongkorn University’s Unit for Disaster and Land Information Studies, said. “The [next] Bangkok governor and the government should work together to solve the problem and cope with flood situations.
“In 2011, a giant flood paralysed the capital with water rising as high as 2.5 metres in adjacent provinces. Millions of residents were affected and hundreds died. Many had to leave home for a few months and spent a great deal on renovation. Inner city areas – where the business centre is – were saved thanks to millions of sandbags and thousands of water pumps, but the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration was heavily criticised for not helping drain water from the northern provinces.
An early view of disaster trends in 2012 across Asia, the world’s most disaster-prone region, shows that mortality from flood events continues to decline but economic losses remain a major cause of concern. In 2012 so far, floods were the most frequent disaster occurring in Asia (44%) and had the highest human and economic impact.
They accounted for 54% of the death toll in Asia, 78% of people affected and 56% of all economic damages in the region. Pakistan suffered large-scale loss of life from floods for the third successive year as 480 people died in floods between August and October. Floods in China (June-July) affected over 17 million people and caused the highest economic losses (US $4.8 billion).
Globally, these three regions accounted for 57 per cent of the total deaths, 74 per cent of the affected people and 34 per cent of the total economic damages caused by disasters in the first ten months of 2012. Worldwide, 231 disasters caused 5,469 deaths, affected a total of 87 million others, and caused US$ 44.6 billion economic damages.
“Fortunately this year, the regions did not suffer from any major disaster, such as an earthquake. Asian disaster figures are low compared to other years and this is good news,”
said Dr. Debby Sapir, Director of CRED. “The 2012 figures show that floods and storms affected most people and caused most economic damages in the regions. Data also suggest that some high risk countries in the region have made significant progress in controlling disaster impacts. This means that preparedness and prevention measures can be effective,” she said.