Climate change fastest in S-E Asia
Sun, Jan 23, 2011

A re-insurance giant has released a study that says that South-East Asia will be feeling the effects of climate change faster than any other region.

This was due to the number of natural disasters that have struck the region over the past decade. Although South-East Asia had been feeling the full effects of flobal warming in the past century, the sharp increase of natural disasters from 100 to 300 annually was evidence of that.

Ernst Rauch, Much Re's head of corporate climate centre, told the Sunday Times that warming temperatures were the clearest sign of climate change.

Large land masses which surrounded the region, such as India and China contributed to temperatures rising at a faster rate, he said.

Munich Re has calculated total financial losses from natural disasters such as floods, earthqukes and storms in Asia at around $1.4 billion.  1.14 million lives were lost in Asia alone last year.

The lack of disaster preparedness by Asian governments and businesses, including a lack of insurance protection, was another factor.

The Sunday Times also reported Mr Tan Yong Soon, permanent secretary (National Climate Change), as saying that countries only reacted after the disaster occurred, meaning a scramble for emergency and relief efforts. 

In Singapore, opinions regarding insurance coverage for natural disasters are fluid due to the republic's isolation from serious natural disasters, according to Francis Savari, Munich Re's head of client portfolio management for the region.

However the recent floods in Singapore have raised awareness on Singapore's risk to natural disasters, he said.

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