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.

UN disaster reduction conference spotlights pre-empting silent killers like hunger

With hunger and related diseases claiming as many lives each week as the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami – more than 165,000 at latest count – the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) today shone the spotlight on the silent killers, whose terrible toll can be slashed by emergency preparedness.

UN launches plans for global early warning system on natural disasters

The United Nations today launched comprehensive plans for a global early warning system to reduce the deadly toll of natural hazards, combining speedy transmission of data with training of populations at risk in a strategy that experts say could have saved scores of thousands of lives in the recent Indian Ocean tsunami.

UN conference on natural disasters opens with call for better mitigation measures

Three weeks after a devastating Indian Ocean tsunami killed at least 160,000 people, the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) opened today in Kobe, Japan – site of a disastrous earthquake that claimed 40,000 lives 10 years ago – with a clarion call for better measures to mitigate the effects of natural hazards.

At Kobe quake ground zero, UN conference seeks to reduce natural disasters' toll

Ten years after an earthquake killed nearly 6,500 people and injured 40,000 in 20 seconds in Kobe, Japan, 4,000 delegates from 150 countries have gathered at ground zero this week for a United Nations conference on disaster reduction, its deliberations given added urgency by nature's latest assault, the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami.

UN puts latest natural disaster alerts at the click of a mouse

Emergency agencies around the world can now get the latest forecasts and alerts on drought, floods, tropical storms, locust infestation, El Niño, earthquakes and volcanic activity under a new humanitarian early warning service launched today by the United Nations and its partners.

UN official warns of 'enormous task' to prevent natural disasters

After a year of devastating natural disasters, from the earthquake in Bam, Iran, to the recent typhoons in the Philippines, the United Nations' most senior humanitarian official warned today that the world faces an "enormous task" in preventing and preparing for these emergencies while mitigating their after-effects on an increasingly vulnerable population.

General Assembly discusses UN humanitarian and disaster relief assistance

The General Assembly met today for a daylong discussion on strengthening the coordination of United Nations humanitarian and disaster relief assistance, with speakers stressing the importance of including the views of and working with local groups in developing emergency programmes in order to ensure their long-term success.