Of the ten deadliest natural disasters on record, all but one occurred in Asia. Natural disasters cause thousands of deaths and do untold damage to the people and economies, but there is little we can do to avoid the shifting of tectonic plates and the intensity of atmospheric circulation. However, what makes a disaster out of natural events like earthquakes, cyclones and other natural calamities is not the phenomena themselves, but rather the destruction they inflict on living things, not least humans. While the events are unavoidable much of the destruction that follows is not.

Through a number of events and publications, this series takes an in-depth look at how different Asian countries cope with natural disasters, how the international community responds, and how natural disasters subsequently shape the countries they affect. In all, each report and event of the series looks toward valuable “lessons learned” that can improve the resilience against and response to natural disasters in the future.

The series began with a successful event hosted by EIAS in cooperation with the Embassy of Nepal in June 2015 and culminated with a high-level event on ‘Natural Disaster Resilience and Response in Asia’, with participants from the EU Commission, European Parliament and several UN agencies. You can read more about the event here, where you can also find the event report.

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EIAS has published one Research Paper in the context of this project:

The Crisis Response to the Nepal Earthquake: Lessons Learned

The response to the earthquakes in Nepal was among the strongest in history, seen from an international perspective, and given the severity of the calamities. Dozens of countries came to the aid of Nepal, some of them, such as India and Pakistan, within a few short hours. Nonetheless, an unnecessary amount of people were killed, injured or otherwise had their lives permanently altered. This report details many of the challenges experienced by international and Nepalese actors before, during and after the disaster. Here, the main findings are briefly summarized.

Overall, three major themes are persistent throughout: 1. Insufficient preparation for a natural disaster of this magnitude, 2. lack of information and dissemination thereof, 3. Lack of effective coordination at all levels of resilience and response.

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