Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Disaster risk reduction necessary after deadliest year in decades

Environment News Service: Recognizing "increasing disaster risks due to climate change and rapid urban development," the World Bank and South Korea's National Emergency Management Agency on Friday signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation, and facilitate international partnership for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. "We embark on a longer term partnership for reducing natural disaster risks faced by disaster prone countries in Asia and Pacific," said Dr. Yeon-Soo Park, NEMA's administrator.

Park said a Centre of Excellence will be created in Korea "for supporting countries on disaster risk reduction." The partners also will create a web-based regional platform for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

…The Asia Pacific region is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of natural disasters. In East Asia and Pacific alone, over the past two decades, floods, typhoons and earthquakes have affected two million people, killing nearly 90,000 and causing damages of more than US$151 billion.

This kind of action is needed urgently in view of the fact that last year the world experienced the highest number of disaster-related casualties in at least two decades, the United Nations' top disaster reduction official said today at UN headquarters in New York.

"Unless we act now, we will see more and more disasters due to unplanned urbanization and environmental degradation. And weather-related disasters are sure to rise in the future, due to factors that include climate change," said Margareta Wahlstrom, who heads the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, the UN body that coordinates efforts to achieve reduction in disaster losses and build resilient nations and communities….

Typhoon Kompasu, August 31, 2010. This storm wrought costly damage in Korea

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