Saturday, June 20, 2009

Halve the number of deaths in disasters

Michael Lim Ubac in the Inquirer Global Nation, via the Phillipine Daily Inqurer: The global disaster risk reduction conference ended Friday with 1,800 participants from 165 nations calling on political leaders around the world to halve the number of deaths from natural hazards by 2015. The participants in the four-day Second Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction said they want their governments to implement measures to drastically bring down the mortality rate in disasters and minimize economic losses.

In 2008 alone, 250,000 people died due to disasters that affected 200 million people, said Jerry Velasquez, the regional coordinator for the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) in the Asia-Pacific region. The total economic cost last year was US$180 billion, he said.

The Global Platform is the main biennial forum on reducing deaths and other risks associated with disasters, bringing together a wide cross-section of the worldwide disaster risk reduction community, including heads of state, senior ministers, UN agencies, non government organizations, scientific and technical experts, and others.

…[Philippine] Sen. Loren Legarda attended the Global Platform as a champion disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the Asia Pacific region. Legarda delivered an impassioned speech at the start of the session in which she called for a new development paradigm that would usher in a safer environment amid the worsening effects of global warming on societies and economies.

Describing disaster risk reduction as a moral imperative and social responsibility, she called for a new vision and approach to development….

USS Pigeon grounded by a typhoon in China in September of 1939, US Navy photograph

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