News / Asia

Global Disaster Conference Stresses Preparedness

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) and Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro attend the opening of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction at the UN Office at Geneva, Switzerland, May 10, 2011
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) and Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro attend the opening of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction at the UN Office at Geneva, Switzerland, May 10, 2011

More than 2,000 representatives from governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector are attending a U.N.-sponsored conference on disaster risk reduction.  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who opened the conference, stressed the need for preparedness in reducing the worst effects of natural catastrophic events.

Natural disasters are not in short supply.  Last year started off with the devastating earthquake in Haiti that killed more than 300,000 people and rendered more than one million homeless.

This year saw the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which killed thousands, made many homeless and caused a dangerous malfunction at the nuclear facilities in Fukushima.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has seen the horrific impacts of these and other disasters first-hand.  He has seen the suffering of the victims.  He says these disasters clearly show no country or city, rich or poor, is immune.

But alongside the dangers from disaster, he says, rests the dangerous myth that acts of nature are unavoidable and inevitable.  He says the aim of this global conference on disaster risk reduction is to show that preparedness can make a difference.

“As countries invest more in early warning and preparedness, mortality risk from floods and cyclones is trending down," he said. "At the same time, economic loss and damage to homes, schools, health facilities and livelihoods are on the rise.”  

The U.N. chief warns that the world’s vulnerability to disaster risks is growing faster than the ability to increase resilience.  He notes that weather-related hazards are on the rise as a result of global climate change.  He says nuclear safety and the threat of multiple hazards add an even greater sense of urgency.

Ban acknowledges that appealing for investments in risk reduction during tough economic times can be an uphill battle.  But he says solutions may be more a matter of spending wisely, rather than spending more.

“Building local capacities," said the U.N. chief. "Effective early warning systems.  Proper land use planning.  Good building designs.  A focus on the needs of women.  Even small investments in building, planning and training can yield remarkable result.”  

Ban Ki-moon says disaster risk reduction is everyone’s business.  He urges states to accelerate their efforts in building safer infrastructure, and teaching children and adults how to protect themselves against catastrophic events.  

He says success in reducing the risk of disasters is measured by what does not occur.  He says the school that does not collapse, the building that does not fall, the village that is not destroyed are all signs that preparedness works.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More