Tsunamis can wreak devastating impacts, with estimations that they average over 4,600 deaths per occurrence. These losses underline the importance of constantly raising awareness of tsunami risk and remaining vigilant, which is why it is now the custom to mark World Tsunami Awareness Day on November 5 every year.
Climate change is a major multiplier of disaster losses worldwide. According to a new report by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, there has been a doubling of extreme weather events in the last twenty years, which have experienced some of the hottest years on record. Measures to adapt to climate impacts are just as important as cutting emissions.
Damage to critical infrastructure is escalating the global cost of extreme weather events, but countries in Asia and the Pacific are suffering inordinately as the level and intensity of disaster events across the region continually raises the bar for resilience. The construction industry and those with planning oversight must therefore not ignore good practices.
Extreme weather was seen as the most prominent risk in the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Risks Report. There are therefore strong economic, financial, legal, reputational and regulatory reasons for building business resilience, not least of which include better performance, credit ratings, and protection gap mitigation, among other benefits.
With the World Bank estimating that disasters cost the global economy $520 billion annually while pushing 26 million people into poverty, reducing disaster risk is a cross-cutting issue for all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 1, on the eradication of poverty in all its forms everywhere.
With 11.4 million people displaced, South Asia and the Pacific Islands bore the brunt of disaster displacement in 2017. However, as will be seen at this week's Asian Ministerial Conference, India and Mongolia’s adoption of Sendai Framework values can be emulated by countries across the region because local level prevention yields an inclusive resilience dividend.
Twenty years after Hurricane Mitch claimed thousands of lives across Central America, it is now common practice for the countries of the Americas to come together every two years to discuss prevention and resilience. The upcoming conference in Colombia is the first of its kind to include participation from National Statistics Offices and parliamentarians.
The anniversary of Nargis is a good moment to reflect on how far the world has come in reducing the death toll from disasters while underlining that there is still plenty of need for disaster risk preparedness in the face of climate change, sea-level rise, and growing population density in hazard-exposed areas.
This month sees the beginning of a major effort by all U.N. Member States to systematically collect data on everyday losses experienced as a result of natural or man-made hazards, as well as related environmental, technological and biological hazards and risks.