News / Science & Technology

Natural Disasters Cost More Than $100 Billion Annually

Michael Stanek hugs his daughter Kennedy Stanek as they take a break from helping friends sift though the rubble of their homes in Vilonia, Arkansas, April 30, 2014.
Michael Stanek hugs his daughter Kennedy Stanek as they take a break from helping friends sift though the rubble of their homes in Vilonia, Arkansas, April 30, 2014.
Lisa Schlein

Hundreds of government representatives, local authorities, the private sector, and civil society will gather to begin work on a new global agreement on Disaster Risk Reduction next week at the United Nations in Geneva. The meeting will lay the groundwork for the Third U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction next March in Sendai, Japan.

The new agreement will replace the existing Hyogo Framework for Action, which was adopted by all U.N. Member States in 2005 following the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed nearly one-quarter of a million people.

The United Nations estimates natural disasters and hazards in the past 20 years have affected four billion people, claiming 1.3 million lives, with a cost of around two trillion dollars in economic losses.

The Head of the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlstrom, said the single biggest success of the Hyogo agreement has been in lives saved through the enactment of preparedness plans, such as early warning systems. But she said that agreement has run its course.

“It is very clear that a new updated agreement is required just because of the economic losses, the rapid urbanization and increasing wealth of the world.  At the same time, many other new actors, because of the economic losses, the private sector has a big focus on this as well," said Wahlstrom.

The United Nations estimates economic losses from natural disasters have been running at more than $100 billion a year during the past decade.  

Thailand is one of many countries with huge expenses from rebuilding after a natural disaster.  

U.N. Ambassador from Thailand and co-chair of the Preparatory Committee, Thani Thongphakdi, says it will cost about $50 billion to rebuild factories and other vital structures that were damaged or destroyed during major floods in 2011. He said 90 percent of that cost will be borne by the private sector.

“The private sector has to see this not as a cost, but as an investment for their own interest to ensure that they can remain resilient when the next disaster strikes. We cannot prevent natural disasters from occurring, but we can ensure resilience against them," said Thongphakdi.

"We can reduce the risks. We can ensure that factories are built upon land in areas, which are protected from flood.  We can ensure through regulation incentives provided to the private sector that they invest in such preventive measures," he said.

The Thai Ambassador said the role of the private sector is one key issue that has to be addressed in the new Framework for Action II. He said the new agreement also must include measures to help local communities better prepare for disasters.

He said monitoring systems have to be strengthened and particular attention must be paid to protect at risk groups, such as women, children and the disabled from natural disasters.   

 

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid