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.

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.