UN underlines need for disaster preparedness in Asian region

22 October 2010

Given their vulnerability to floods, cyclones and other extreme weather events, Asian countries must incorporate disaster risk reduction strategies into their national plans to enhance their readiness to respond to climate change, the United Nations agency tasked with minimizing the threat posed by natural disasters said today.

“Disaster risk reduction offers concrete solutions to deal with current weather variability and is an essential part of climate change adaptation,” said Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, ahead of the Fourth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, set to start next week.

The four-day meeting hosted by the Republic of Korea’s National Emergency Management Agency is being held only four months after the worst floods in Pakistan’s history, which saw one-fifth of the country inundated and an estimated 20 million people affected. The catastrophic floods are estimated to have caused more than $43 billion in damage.

Floods in China and Vietnam also caused many deaths and extensive damage this year.

The Asian ministerial conference is expected to adopt a five-year regional ‘roadmap’ on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, including capacity-building activities, strengthened information sharing and solutions to manage climate risks through the use of technology.

The meeting will also be an opportunity for governments in the Asian region to reaffirm their commitments to the Hyogo Framework of Action – the 10-year plan of action to reduce disaster-related losses which was adopted by governments in 2005.

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