Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mideast and North Africa at risk of natural disasters

Yosra Shohayeb in the Daily News (Egypt): By 2050, the number of people exposed to storms and earthquakes, particularly in coastal areas, could more than double to 1.5 billion, a report said. This is also true for the Middle East and North Africa region, with its rapidly growing cities exposed to many hazards, particularly in coastal areas.

The report titled “Natural Hazards, and Unnatural Hazards Disasters: the Economics of Effective Prevention,” said that in the coming years the region will become more vulnerable to floods, earthquakes, droughts, landslides and other natural disasters that can impede development, unless effective risk management is applied...

...“The findings of this report are indeed timely and important to the Arab region,” Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil El-Araby, said. “While water scarcity is becoming a major threat, climate change is undoubtedly aggravating the situation,” he added.

He explained that these findings must be put on the region’s development agenda, as they provide guidelines for regional efforts aiming at reducing vulnerabilities and risks induced by natural hazards. “By 2020, more than 66 percent of the Arab population will be living in cities that face several hazards and stressed resources,” Head of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Regional Office for Arab States, Amjad Abbashar, said.

...The report shows that taking preventive measures against natural disasters do not require the government to spend more, but spend better. “Institution building, double-duty infrastructure and sharing data are all key to preventing disasters,” Acting Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region in the World Bank, Lazlo Lovei, said. “Even modest increases, and greater sharing of data internationally, can have enormous benefits,” the report said.

Sanghi highlighted the importance of infrastructure, by giving an example on Kuala Lumpur's storm water management and road tunnel infrastructure and mobility, saying that it succeeded in March 2008 to build a tunnel diverting 1.2 million cubic meters of water. “When prevention is done right, even poor countries in harm's way manages to protect their population over time,” he said....

Ageba in Matrouh, Egypt, shot by Muhammad khamis

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