UN tsunami envoy Bill Clinton urges immediate steps to prevent disaster

Thousands of lives and billions of dollars lost in the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 could have been saved if disaster reduction strategies had been in place, United Nations tsunami envoy former United States President Bill Clinton said today, highlighting the urgent need to implement these measures.

Governments must do more to reduce the impact of natural disasters – UN body

Marking the one year anniversary of an international agreement aimed at reducing the impact of natural disasters, a senior United Nations official today called on countries to speed up their efforts to make risk reduction a national priority.

Disasters of 2005 not completely 'natural,' UN health agency says

The high death toll in 2005 from tsunamis, hurricanes, typhoons, mudslides, earthquakes, volcanoes, locusts and pandemics can not necessarily be blamed on “natural” disaster, according to the United Nations health agency which today pointed to a complex mix of human and natural factors that led to tragedy in those events.

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.