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Southeast Asia

A scene of devastation in Japan after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Natural disasters are expected to intensify in strength thanks to climate change. Image: Warren Antiola, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Disaster risk management has always been a high priority in Southeast Asia, but climate change is making the problem all the more urgent and challenging, writes NUS’Vinod Thomas.

Southeast Asia, already on the path of tropical storms originating from the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, has seen a spike in climate disasters as global warming aggravates these hazards of nature. The dangers are compounded by the fact that the region also has a high population density, with large urban populations in low-lying cities, including the megacities, Jakarta and Manila.

Read more: Climate change raises the bar for disaster resilience

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Seagrasses (above) are found in coastal waters all over the world, apart from at the poles.PHOTO: SITI MARYAM YAAKUB

The verdant meadows of the sea are up to 35 times better than rainforests at storing carbon and are nurseries for all manner of marine creatures. Yet, about 40 percent of the world's seagrass may have been lost due to human activity.

Read more: Seagrasses can offset climate change

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As carbon dioxide rises due to the burning of fossil fuels, rice will lose some of its protein and vitamin content, putting millions of people at risk of malnutrition, scientists warned on Wednesday.

Read more: Global warming may have 'devastating' effects on rice: study

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