Informal Thematic Debate on Disaster Risk Reduction "Waking up to loss: Recognizing Risks, Controlling the Damage".
Earthquakes, heat waves, floods and snowstorms affected 208 million people last year, killing 296,800 and costing US$ 110 billion in losses. And the trend continues: in the first five weeks of 2011, massive floods in Australia and a category-5 cyclone hit the country’s northeast; landslides destroyed towns in Brazil; a cold wave killed over 10,000 heads of cattle in Viet Nam.
No country is immune from natural hazards. That is why it is important to recognize the importance of reducing vulnerabilities and risks to hazards, especially in developing countries whose development gains can be wipe away in a single disaster. For the first time, the United Nations General Assembly is discussing with mayors and finance and trade specialists how to build stronger resilience and promote investments that reduce risk, especially in urban areas