/ / Insight


According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), many of the world’s populations live in coastal regions. While idealistic for many, these regions still have a downside, which is that they are prone to an array of natural hazards.

Closer to home, Southeast Asia is one of the world’s most at-risk regions to the impacts and dangers caused by coastal hazards. Many areas of the Southeast Asia region are archipelagos, located between two large bodies of the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. Therefore, these nations are among those most vulnerable to coastal hazards, including rising sea levels, tsunamis, erosion and tidal flooding. Additionally, coastal hazards are closely linked to the impacts of climate change – particularly the issue of rising sea levels – that increasingly endanger human populations, cities, and ports across the region. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand are examples of ASEAN countries who are vulnerable to coastal hazards, and are all home to large cities located in close proximity to the coastline.

There are four major coastal hazards as identified by NOAA, namely: rising sea levels, harmful algae blooms, storm surges and tsunamis. Rising sea levels are the largest potential hazard faced by coastal communities, overly due to the onset of climate change. Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) occur when colonies of algae grow out of control, having toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, marine mammals, and birds. Storm surges take place through abnormal rises in sea levels during a large storm, that are measured at the height of water above the normal predicted astronomical tide. The last primary hazard are tsunamis, as most ASEAN nations lie in the Ring of Fire, that is home to constant earthquakes that cause the large tsunami waves.

Based on these interrelated and challenging contexts, it is therefore critical to develop resilient communities who are prepared for these threats, as well as enhance the ability of those communities to absorb impacts and bounce back should disaster strike. With strong preparation – supported by clear response mechanisms – ASEAN communities will continue to overcome and manage risks related to coastal hazards across the region.


Written by : Moch Syifa | Source: oceanservice.noaa.gov