With UN support, Africa is set to agree on disaster risk reduction programme

Noting that Africa is the only continent whose share of reported disasters in the world total has increased over the past decade, government ministers from 40 countries are set to agree on ways to implement a new continental disaster reduction strategy that will also help to eradicate poverty.

UN meeting seeks to save tens of thousands of lives from future natural disasters

Terming recent natural disasters in which hundreds of thousands of people died and hundreds of millions of livelihoods were lost "a wakeup call like no other," the top United Nations relief coordinator today called for more effective prevention and preparedness systems, especially for developing countries.

Annan calls for investment in disaster prevention in year of 'profound lessons'

In a year when people worldwide have been reminded that nowhere is immune from natural disaster, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on Governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to invest in disaster prevention and poverty reduction so as to build resilient communities and save lives.

UN University calls for recognition of those displaced by gradual environmental change

Marking the United Nations Day for Disaster Reduction, the UN University (UNU) today called on the international community to recognize the plight of people who are displaced not by dramatic disasters but by gradual negative changes in the environment.

Guatemala: UN launches flash appeal following deadly floods, mudslides

The United Nations was today launching a $22-million flash appeal for Guatemala where severe flooding and mudslides caused by hurricane Stan have killed hundreds of people and inflicted estimated damage of more than $400 million to the livestock, coffee and banana industries.

Annan urges global emphasis on disaster planning to mitigate death and destruction

More than 242,000 people were killed last year mostly in December's Indian Ocean tsunami and 158 million people were injured by natural disasters, whose toll could have been mitigated through better planning, risk reduction and response, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report. Economic damage from natural disasters last year totalled $94 billion, the report also says.

UN sends experts to assess threat of dam collapsing into lake in Cameroon

The United Nations has sent two experts to Cameroon to help assess a lake's natural dam which is threatening to collapse, with the potentially disastrous consequences of not only flooding the homes of tens of thousands of people but also of releasing its second cloud of deadly gas in nearly two decades.

As Asians build post-tsunami disaster response, Annan looks to action

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called today for sustained political and financial commitment to disaster reduction, stressing that all human societies are vulnerable to natural disasters as last year's Asian tsunami and the recent tragedy that befell the United States Gulf Coast have demonstrated.

Mongolian official wins UN award for work on dzud or 'white death'

A Mongolian Government official was named 2005 laureate of the prestigious United Nations Sasakawa award for his groundbreaking work on dzud, or "white death," the combination of extreme winter conditions that have killed more than 8.5 million livestock over four years by starving or isolating them, the UN agency for disaster reduction said today.

UN agency draws up action plan to mitigate extreme weather in Europe

With extreme weather such as severe flooding, drought and heat waves blighting Europe, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and its regional members are drawing up an action plan at a nine-day session currently under way in Heidelberg, Germany, to mitigate the worst effects.