Xinhua, Manila : The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Tuesday urged countries in Asia to develop disaster risk financing instruments to insulate their economies from the ill effects of natural calamities. In a report, the Manila-based lender warned that the cost of natural disasters in Asia, estimated at 53 billion U.S. dollars annually, could wipe out economic gains in many countries in the region. “Over the past four decades, direct physical losses from disasters in the region significantly outpaced growth in gross domestic product,” ADB said. “Long-term damage to infrastructure, businesses, farms, and homes can push many back into poverty,” the Manila-based lender added. Despite the huge economic losses from natural disasters in the region, ADB said only 7.6 percent were insured in Asia last year. Citing a study of the Society of Lloyd’s, the report said that eight economies in Asia are underinsured by 122.5 billion U.S. dollars. “Regional cooperation along with better and more effective national policies to offer disaster risk financing instruments is therefore critical,” ADB said. The report said Asian countries could consider emulating the examples of small island nations in the Caribbean who worked together in creating a regional catastrophe risk pool.