Climate Change Continuously Takes Its Toll on ASEAN countries

Climate change is a global issue that every country must take into consideration as it affects all things that live on Earth.
Climate change is already burning up the planet, but not all countries are paying attention to it.

Malaysia wasn’t expecting that the country would experience early a phenomenon they supposed to happen once in a hundred years. It’s all because of climate change.

Sooner than Expected Event Due to Climate Change

Malaysia never anticipated that the occurrence, which only happens in 100 years, would happen sooner than expected. Some parts of the country received a month’s average rainfall in just a day, resulting in immense flooding. The country encountered this sooner than expected event last December.

The increasing recurrence of incalculable and terrible weather conditions has directly impacted the agricultural sector. It indicates a possible worrying future for the nation’s long-term food security.

Currently, Malaysia ranks 39th among the 113 countries in the Global Food Security Index. It depends on imports to fill the remaining gap in the total rice demand of nearly 60% to 70%. As the population increases, food demand is also expected to rise by 70% to 100% by 2050.

In October 2022, the buildup in the yearly average rainfall and prevalence of humid weather over the past few years. From 2017 to 2021, floodwaters engulfed over 40,000 hectares of rice fields.

Climate change greatly affects crop yields whether its El Niño or La Niña.
Rice is ready to harvest in a few days. (Abhi_Jacob/Pixabay)

Moreover, the country experienced major environmental problems which caused considerable damage to the food-producing industry. It includes agriculture and agro-based industry, which suffered RM299 million loss during the 2014 and 2015 floods.

A 2% rise in temperature could reduce rice harvest by a ton per hectare, according to the ASEAN State of Climate Change Report 2021. Consequently, rice yields in the country could experience an estimated downturn of -5.9% to -30.9% by 2050.

Reduced Crop Production

Climate change impacts the growth of crops. Previous unpredictable weather patterns directly impact Malaysia’s ability to produce food.

“The government, agriculture authorities, non-government bodies, as well as research universities must focus on finding new ways of either managing or developing new plant varieties that can adapt to climate change,” said Dr Wan Fazilah Fazlil Ilahi, from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) department of agricultural technology.

She added that climate prediction models could help farmers draft their future planting setup. Such forecasts can enable authorities to make their own perspectives of agriculture production’s susceptibility to climate change.

Climate Change and Typhoons

Climate change creares strong typhoon that creastes massive flooding.
A typhoon left the Philippines with flooded streets. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/WikimediaCommons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Recently, the Philippines received beatings from typhoon Megi. The country endured massive downpours, particularly in the central and southern regions. It swamped areas and created landslides before and after it landed on April 10.

The mid part of the Philippines lies in the typhoon route, which serves as entry to the country. Flash floods and landslides are usually common after a typhoon.

President Rodrigo Duterte visited Baybay City, Leyte, to check the damages and ensure affected residents will get help. The said city is one of the badly-hit areas by Megi.

“This is what I came here for, to tell you that you were not forgotten. I repeat, food is not a problem. Until the last moment you need it, if you want, you don’t need to buy your own rice. And you will have a house again… just approach the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development),” said Duterte.

The death toll rose to 167, according to the report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). Of the 167 casualties, 151 came from Eastern Visayas, while Western Visayas had 11. Davao region reported three, while Central Visayas has two.