UN-backed forum on disaster reduction kicks off

Representatives of more than 100 governments converged in Geneva today to launch a new United Nations-chaired forum on disaster reduction that is expected to the major international consultative group on the issue.

Iran, UN agencies launch first regional seismic risk reduction centre

Three and half years after a massive earthquake killed more than 26,000 people in the ancient city of Bam, Iran, a regional centre to reduce the damage from such seismic threats was launched in the country today by the Government and the United Nations unit focussed on disaster mitigation.

UN agency trains communications experts for rapid global disaster response

For crises where minutes can make a difference between life and death, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has just graduated its first class of emergency telecommunications team leaders after an intensive two-week training course to ready them for rapid deployment to difficult and dangerous disaster zones.

Pushing ahead with global disaster early-warning system, UN convenes experts meeting

Pushing ahead with plans to mitigate the impact of natural disasters, from earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes to floods and wildfires, scientists and advisors from 20 specialized United Nations bodies began a two-day meeting today to decide how a people-centred early-warning system can be implemented worldwide.

UN Central Emergency Response Fund commits $241 million to help disaster-hit areas

The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has furnished $241 million to help provide relief to disaster-hit areas in some 30 countries since its establishment nine months ago, the world body’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced today.

UN stresses key role of communications in mitigating impact of disasters

Aware that communications can make the difference between life and mass death in a natural disaster, the United Nations today opened a four-day workshop for the Asia-Pacific region to streamline that key element in the overall strategy to mitigate the impact of natural catastrophes that it launched after the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

UN updates guidelines for international military aid in disaster relief operations

The United Nations today launched updated guidelines for improving the effectiveness of foreign military and civil defence assets in international disaster relief operations, such as those used in response to the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami two years ago.

UN emergency chief urges action on disasters today to prevent calamity tomorrow

With global warming threatening to change the face of the planet, mega-cities looming as potential earthquake mega-traps, and the world’s poorest exposed as the most vulnerable, the top United Nations emergency relief official is calling for “action today to prevent calamity tomorrow” by investing in disaster mitigation.

UN humanitarian chief points to disaster relief fund as example of successful reform

The landmark United Nations fund set up to jump-start relief operations for natural and man-made disasters and save thousands of lives that would otherwise be lost to delay offers “living proof” that the world body can reform, the UN’s top humanitarian official said today.

UN stresses education of schoolchildren as key to reducing impact of natural disasters

With natural disasters claiming more than 600,000 lives and affecting more than 2.4 billion people over the last decade, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for educating schoolchildren on ways to prepare for such hazards and thus reduce the death toll and damage that they cause.