• Home
  • India
  • Fact Check
  • World
  • Politics
  • Options and Analysis
  • Publications
  • Activities
  • Others

Asia the 'Most Disaster-Hit' Region From Climate Hazards in 2023: UN Report

By News   Desk

Asia bore the brunt of the world's climate and weather-related disasters in 2023, according to a sobering new report by the United Nations' weather agency. Floods and storms were the primary causes of casualties and economic losses across the region, which is warming at a faster pace than the global average.

The World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) "State of the Climate in Asia 2023" report highlighted the region's accelerating rate of key climate change indicators, such as rising surface temperatures, retreating glaciers, and sea-level rise, warning of profound repercussions for societies, economies, and ecosystems.

"Asia remained the world's most disaster-hit region from weather, climate and water-related hazards in 2023," the WMO stated.

The annual mean near-surface temperature over Asia in 2023 was the second-highest on record, at 0.91°C above the 1991-2020 average and 1.87°C above the 1961-1990 average. Western Siberia, central Asia, eastern China, and Japan experienced particularly high average temperatures, with Japan enduring its hottest summer ever recorded.

Meanwhile, the Himalayan and Hindu Kush mountain ranges in Pakistan and Afghanistan witnessed below-normal precipitation levels, while southwest China grappled with drought conditions throughout the year.

The High-Mountain Asia region, centered on the Tibetan Plateau and home to the largest volume of ice outside the polar regions, continued to see an accelerated retreat of most of its glaciers, with 20 out of 22 monitored glaciers showing continued mass loss in 2023.

Floods were the leading cause of death in reported events last year, with more than 2,000 casualties and 9 million people directly affected across 79 water-related weather hazards in Asia. Hong Kong recorded its highest hourly rainfall of 158.1 millimeters on September 7 due to a typhoon, breaking records dating back to 1884.

WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, "The report's conclusions are sobering. Many countries in the region experienced their hottest year on record in 2023, along with a barrage of extreme conditions, from droughts and heatwaves to floods and storms. Climate change exacerbated the frequency and severity of such events, profoundly impacting societies, economies, and, most importantly, human lives and the environment that we live in."

Saulo called for improving tailored information from national weather services across the region to support disaster risk reduction efforts, stressing, “It is imperative that our actions and strategies mirror the urgency of these times. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the evolving climate is not merely an option but a fundamental necessity.”