Strengthening regional cooperation to mitigate weather extremes — Shamshad Akhtar

Source: The Malay Mail Online

whatyouthink-new-logo_200_200_100-1JANUARY 29 — This month’s floods in Thailand are a worrisome reminder of the increasing uncertainty of extreme weather events. Thailand’s flood season usually ends in November, but this year, influenced by a low depression and a strong northeast monsoon, widespread flooding in the south of the country has killed more than sixty people, affected over 330,000 households, and resulted in widespread asset losses.

Far from being an anomaly, however, the unpredictability of these extreme weather events may become the norm.  Using a United Nations global methodology to estimate future disaster losses, we anticipate that average annual losses in Thailand due to floods will reach more than US$2.5 billion (RM11.1 billion) by 2030, or 0.65 per cent of the country’s 2015 GDP, which is the equivalent of 2.6 per cent of gross fixed capital formation, and 2 per cent of gross savings.

The final impact on Thailand’s GDP for 2017 will depend on the duration of the floods. To date, the worst affected sector is rubber, which accounts for 1.5 per cent of GDP and 2.4 per cent of export revenues. The Rubber Authority of Thailand estimates that approximately 10 per cent of the country’s rubber production has been lost so far. As Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of rubber, accounting for 38 per cent of world exports, a tighter global market supply may result in an increase in prices, which would somewhat mute revenue losses.  Nevertheless, based on climate outlook forecasts expecting the floods to recede by the end of January, a loss of 10 to 15 billion baht could still be expected.  Read more

Disaster management: How prepared are we? — Tay Tian Yan

Source: The Malay Mail Online

whatyouthink-new-logo_200_200_100NOVEMBER 1 — What can we do in the face of a major disaster?

This is a lesson Malaysians have to learn.

The water cuts in Selangor and the fire at JB’s Sultanah Aminah Hospital are different in nature, but they are all disasters.

When a disaster strikes, the first thing some people will do is to look for the scapegoat. For instance. Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali asserted that the river pollution causing the water supply disruption was the work of Umno, without offering any evidence.

That was an act trying to avert public attention, and frustration. I’m not sure how people will actually believe in him, but even if there some, what can be done? Can that solve the problem of water source contamination?

Of course not. Moreover, this kind of things will keep happening in the future, and could get worse perhaps. Read more

Preparing for more rapid deployment of aid

Source: The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: A more co-ordinated and efficient response to emergency situations is being prepared with placement of essential relief items at the United Nations Response Depot for natural disaster victims locally and across the region.

National Security Council (NSC) deputy secretary Ogu Salim Omar said the Civil Defence Department, Armed Forces, police and all relevant agencies were already preparing for the coming flood season. Read more