"Difficult time" for Americas as experts meet to discuss disasters

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Food for distribution to the drought-affected communities of Las Hastas and Los Achiotes in the town of Orocuina, Choluteca, Honduras. Photo: WFP/Hetze Tosta

The Americas region has been experiencing what's been described as "a difficult time" as experts gather in Paraguay to discuss how best to mitigate the risk of disasters.

They're meeting in the capital Asuncion, to look at how to promote the Sendai Framework, a strategy agreed by the international community which aims to reduce mortality rates and damage to the environmental, social and economic fabric when disasters strike.

Daniel Dickinson reports from Asuncion.

The Americas region is highly susceptible to natural disasters. Earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic activity, flooding and drought have all taken their toll on human life in recent years.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction looks at the intersect between those natural catastrophes and disasters which have been created or worsened by human activity; for example deforestation or the construction of sub-standard buildings which are likely to collapse in an earthquake.

Ricardo Mena is the head of the Americas office of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

He says the meeting of experts at ministerial level on Wednesday has come at an opportune time.

"The region has gone through a difficult time in the past six months being affected by the El Niňo phenomenon either with an excess of rain or a total deficit of rain. Central America, for example, is facing acute drought. And also by a high magnitude earthquake in Ecuador just two months ago. So it comes at the right time as the region is reflecting on how it is dealing with disaster risk and I think this message is going to arrive at the right moment.”

The Sendai Framework is the global blueprint for disaster mitigation and is considered as a key driver of sustainable development.

Without it experts say the internationally agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will not become a reality

Daniel Dickinson, for the United Nations in Asuncion, Paraguay.

Duration: 1'31"


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