Asia hit hardest by natural disasters in 2014: Report

Asia was the continent hit hardest by natural disasters in 2014, with China getting the worst of it with 58 million people affected, according to an annual report released here on Thursday.

Geneva: Asia was the continent hit hardest by natural disasters in 2014, with China getting the worst of it with 58 million people affected, according to an annual report released here on Thursday.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in its 2015 World Disasters Report that while there were 317 natural disasters reported worldwide in 2014, it was actually the lowest number of the decade.

Disasters caused 8,186 deaths worldwide in 2014, but that mortality rate is the lowest since 1986 (7,303), and 90 percent lower than the decade average.

According to the report, 48 per cent of all disasters occurred in Asia.

"Over 85 per cent of those killed and 86 per cent of those affected globally were also in Asia," the report said.

The earthquake in China's Yunnan province last August that killed 731 people was the deadliest disaster in 2014, and drought, storms and flooding affected some 58 million people in the country.

Continuing a 20-year-long trend, nearly nine out of ten disasters were climate related -- 87 per cent in 2014.

The IFRC report also focused on "local actors", and the need to fund more local humanitarian aid.

"Local actors are always the first to respond," IFRC said.

It said that local actors are effective because "of the perspective they bring, their understanding of language and cultural norms, and because they are permanently present in communities and able to accompany them to address risks before disaster strikes." 

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