Environmental and weather-related disasters displaced more than 30 million people across Asia in 2010, a problem likely to worsen as climate change increases the risk of these problems.
According to experts, tens of millions more people are likely to be displaced in the future as a result of climate change. Rising sea levels, droughts, floods and reduced agricultural production are expected to be some of the largest motives for displacement and migration.
The Asian Development Bank has warned that increased migration is likely to increase across Asia, and governments should prepare for problems created by this. Costs will be high, and the problems occurring now are much smaller than those expected in the future. Increasing climate change related disasters could cause widespread crises across the region in the coming years if the risks are not addressed.
Low-lying islands, particularly the Maldives, are at the highest risk. Their environment minister, Mohamed Aslam, said the entire population of some islands in the archipelago have been forced to move. Coastal cities face threats of storm surges and rising seas, and heavily populated areas already suffering flooding, such as Bangladesh, have an even higher risk of disasters.
The Asian Development Bank is creating a report that will detail the problems most likely to hit, as well as policy changes that could help deal with them. It will be published next spring, with research being disclosed at a series of regional conferences in the coming months.
Solutions will include measures such as additional communication networks, transport systems and energy provisions for a more solid infrastructure in the event of increased disasters associated with climate change.
Image by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: Flooding in Pakistan August 18th, 2010