Monday, November 24, 2014

New global disaster reduction strategy must include vulnerable people

Jessica Hartog at the Thomson Reuters Foundation: Last week, international experts on disaster reduction met in Geneva to develop a new global framework to make the world more resilient to increasing natural disasters.

It is clear that disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons and floods are on the rise and have huge impacts. The U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) estimates that in the last 20 years, 1.3 million people have been killed by disasters. Of these deaths, 93 percent were in developing countries, highlighting how the poor are disproportionately vulnerable to disasters.

But there is more to the story than mortality rates. In the last 20 years, around 4.4 billion people have been affected in some way or another by disasters.

For people whose assets have been damaged or destroyed, farmers whose harvests have been lost, or communities whose road infrastructure has been damaged - cutting them off from their work, schools and markets -  economic losses are thought to have totalled $2 trillion in the same period.

It is expected that disasters will only continue to increase if we do not take measures to stop this trend. Major drivers are climate change and the growth of cities in areas that are already exposed to floods, tropical storms and earthquakes. This is why an internationally agreed disaster risk reduction strategy is so important....

From the 2010 flooding in Thailand, shot by Napast3379, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons 3.0 license 

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