Summary The article analyses from a Human Development perspective the adjustment process in five Asian countries seriously affected by the crisis. The previous impressive record in improving human development was due to a rapid fall in Private and Social Income Poverty arising from a sustained growth in incomes, reasonably well allocated. The substantial fall in incomes following the crisis, therefore, potentially had a large poverty?creating effect while there were few mechanisms in place – traditional or government?supported – to insulate people. The article recommends both short?term policies to help protect human development, including employment schemes, food subsidies, and income?generating projects, and protection of all public expenditures on human development?priorities in health and education against cuts, and longer?term policies to introduce insurance schemes. But the most critical requirement to promote human development is a resumption of economic growth.