NEW DELHI: Disasters have claimed 317,000 lives and displaced 16 million people in BIMSTEC countries in the two decades from 1996, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today.
Inaugurating a two-day conference of BIMSTEC countries on disaster management, Singh said in terms of the number of extreme weather events — floods, droughts, heat waves and cyclones — the future was not going to be any better and the frequency and intensity of such events was likely to rise in view of climate change.
Over the period 1996 to 2015, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries have lost 317,000 lives to disasters.
In these disasters, more than 16 million people in the BIMSTEC countries have lost their homes and economic losses were also high and escalating, he said.
The conference was attended by the representatives of the BIMSTEC countries — Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
The Home Minister said if the countries make the communities, towns and villages, and economic activities resilient, the losses can be reduced.
Singh said the improved disaster preparedness is a cornerstone of this effort and in this direction, all the BIMSTEC nations have made significant progress over the last two decades. (AGENCIES)