Sunday, September 21, 2008

Invest in disaster preparations to protect Asia's poor: World Vision

Agence France-Presse: Massive investments are needed to protect millions of poor people living in Asia-Pacific coastal areas who are vulnerable to increasingly deadly natural disasters, global charity World Vision said. The investments could run into "tens of billions of dollars," and should focus more on preparing communities for the climate change-induced calamities than on handouts after they strike, it said in a newly-released report.

It cited a study which showed that for every dollar invested in pre-disaster risk education, seven dollars in losses can be prevented. "Governments both from within and outside the region must prioritise preparedness to avert massive hardship for millions," said Richard Rumsey, World Vision's regional director for humanitarian and emergency affairs.

Asia is already home to most of the world's natural disasters, with 75 percent of all people killed last year from such calamities within the region. Over the past 30 years the number of disasters in Asia rose sharply from below 50 to 200 per year, the report said. Between 1990 and 2007, natural disasters in Asia killed about 757,000 people, affected 3.5 billion others and caused 620 billion US dollars in damage, it added.

…Called Planet Prepare: Preparing Coastal Communities in Asia for Future Catastrophes, it warns that "governments have a small window of opportunity to act." As storms become more ferocious and rising sea levels threaten to engulf low-lying areas, preparations against disasters should be comprehensive, said Johannes Luetz, who wrote the report….

1 comment:

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