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.

Worldwide disaster response capabilities criticized in new UN report

Worldwide preparedness for major disasters and the ability of the international community to respond quickly, provide fresh water, sanitation, food, shelter, and security are inadequate, says a review commissioned by top United Nations emergency relief official, Jan Egeland.

UN offers help to US in aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation

The top United Nations emergency relief official has offered the United States the world body’s help in “any way possible” following the loss of life and large-scale destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina along the country's Gulf Coast.

Annan expresses sympathy for Hurricane Katrina victims

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today expressed his sympathy for victims of Hurricane Katrina in the United States and extended condolences to those affected by the storm.

Rich nations can also suffer from natural disasters, says UN agency chief

The devastation being wrought in the south-eastern United States by Hurricane Katrina and the recent deadly floods in Central Europe and Switzerland prove that “anyone can be affected, any day, anywhere” by natural disaster, said the head of the United Nations disaster-reduction body, calling for more systematic prevention and mitigation measures.

Earthquake engineers' know-how can improve disaster reduction plans – Annan

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged seismic engineers meeting in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to use their expertise to help reduce the human consequences of earthquakes and to raise public awareness about ways national, global and regional responses to natural disasters can be improved.

In face of wildfires, UN disaster agency calls for global cooperation on prevention

With wildfires destroying more than 140,000 hectares of forest and farmland in Portugal since the beginning of the summer, the United Nations disaster reduction agency is calling on countries around the world to cooperate in enforcing basic measures to reduce the risks.

Big cities must address risks of underground expansion, UN University says

With growing population pressures on land in big urban centres, city managers find opportunities in using underground space for transportation, shopping and parking but do not always face the possible subterranean risks from natural disasters, according to United Nations University experts.