Disasters cost global economy $520 billion: UN deputy chief

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United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, speaking at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico. Photo: UNISDR

Fewer people are dying from natural disasters and hazards but the economic losses are escalating, Amina Mohammed, the deputy UN chief said.

Some 6,000 participants are attending the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, a bi-annual gathering on reducing disaster risk and building the resilience of communities and nations, taking place in Cancún, Mexico.

Its successor, the Sendai Framework, named after a Japanese city, has been a "remarkable achievement" and has put the focus on prevention, Ms Mohammed said.

The global strategy, adopted in 2015, is designed to reduce the number of people who die, or are affected by, disasters: both natural and man made.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, Amina Mohamed began her address on Thursday by giving special recognition to Kiribati, the Central Pacific island nation "living on the edge and the frontline of the reality of climate change."

She also praised Mexico for being a "true leader in disaster-risk reduction," citing its advances in seismic warnings and its management of extreme weather events.

Two years ago, Hurricane Patricia hit Mexico's Pacific coastline, but the country's prompt actions reduced losses.

Here's Amina Mohammed:

"The likelihood of mega-disasters had greatly diminished in many countries thanks to stronger institutions, robust legislation and policy frameworks, better preparedness, improved early warning systems, a greater understanding of disaster risk, increased engagement with civil society and more accountability for man-made hazards."

A lot remains to be done in terms of reducing disaster risks, particularly in low and middle income countries.

Disasters are costing the global economy US$ 520 billion and push 26 million people into poverty," she warned.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’14″

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