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Is your SE Asia holiday destination safe from natural disasters?

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We head off on holiday to relax, spend time with family and friends and discover somewhere new. But let’s be honest, often we know very little about where we are going beyond the pool, or the beach and perhaps one or two recommended places to visit. 

Our dream SE Asia holiday destination may be on an international fault line making the area vulnerable to earthquakes. Forest fires or floods may be common at certain times of the year, or perhaps a nearby volcano is still pretty active.

The World Risk Report 

The World Risk Report is compiled by the United Nations University for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). The report assigns a risk percentage to 173 countries, based on the chances of experiencing earthquakes, storms, floods, droughts and sea level rises. It also takes into account how well prepared each country is at dealing with a natural disaster. 

Good to know that for us and visitors to Singapore, the Little Red Dot is number 15  in the world in terms of the least likelihood of a natural disaster (2015 report). Qatar is number one. 

Least safe for natural disasters

Some familiar places in SE Asia are ranked in the top 20 as being least safe from natural disasters. 

The Philippines comes in at number 3, Cambodia number 8, Japan at number 15, Fiji at number 16 and Vietnam at number 18. 

In Europe, both Greece and Turkey are among the countries where a natural disaster is most likely to strike. 

Boxing Day Tsunami

One of the worst natural disasters in recent memory was the Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami which struck in the Indian Ocean in 2004. 

The third largest earthquake ever recorded triggered waves that smashed onto the coast of 14 countries. Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia were the worst hit, and inevitably, locals and tourists alike were caught up in the tragedy.

Events like these are rare, but provide a strong motivation to buy good Travel insurance. These are the memories of one travel agent who was at the end of a phone helping those caught up in the disaster; 

We got calls from people who had lost everything they own or even worse, had lost family members and loved ones. People were beaten up and injured in the tsunami and some people flew home to a cold Europe wearing only their swimming trunks. It is hard to comfort a person crying in despair on another continent but we did what we could and I honestly think we did a good job. We managed to move customers who wanted to continue their vacation to safer, undamaged grounds and we also managed to get people home….I still do believe that good travel insurance is crucial. You are always better off with insurance than without and mostly it is no big investment considering the total price of your trip.* 

How to protect yourself

While the odds of being caught up in a tsunami, flood, hurricane, volcanic eruption or any other natural disaster are slim, it can happen. 

When disaster strikes you will need good Travel insurance to compensate you for any losses, medical expenses and, in the case of an emergency, to get you home quick. If you need any emergency assistance while abroad our overseas number to call is +65-6221-2199. 

Check out our next post for expert advice on what to do in the event of a natural disaster. 


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