GENEVA / EXTREME WEATHER

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24-Jan-2019 00:02:55
Natural disasters affected more than 60 million people around the world in 2018 and claimed over 10,300 lives, despite the absence of a cataclysmic event, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), said on Thursday. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / EXTREME WEATHER
TRT: 2:55
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 24 JANUARY 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations, snow.
2. Wide shot, journalist and podium.
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Mami Mizutori, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction:
“In spite of the lack of a mega-disaster, still 60 million people have been affected in many different ways, in terms of losing their jobs, their livelihood, being displaced, being injured or whatnot.”
4. Close up, press release, speakers in background.
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Mami Mizutori, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction:
“Mortality last year caused by disaster is pretty low compared to the average figure between the year 2000 and 2017 and this is due to one fact that there was what you would call a mega-disaster last year. But also it is the result of much better disaster management carried out in many countries at both the national and local level.”
6. Med shot, journalists.
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Mami Mizutori, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction:
“In the United States, the biggest wildfire in the history; in Europe, even in places such as Sweden, you had wildfires, and then there were floods, storms. When we think about drought which is the biggest disaster that is affecting the African continent but not only - Australia, even Europe - we have to admit that we still don’t know much about drought, how it really is affecting people.”
8. Med shot journalists typing.
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Mami Mizutori, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction:
“More than half the world’s population now live in urban areas, but how is urbanization taking place? It’s taking place in a very unplanned and informal way. There is not focus on planning regulations, building codes to protect ecosystems.”
10. Close up, camera operator with mobile phone.
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Debarati Guha-Sapir, Professor, Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, Institute of Health and Society, Catholic University of Louvain:
“We think that in 2019, the potential for El Nino impact in extreme events is going to be quite serious. We have not had it in the last two or three years, it’s true, but I think this is going to build up, and 2019 is foreseen as a major El Nino year, and we may see very serious and severe impact.”
12. Wide shot, press room.
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Debarati Guha-Sapir, Professor, Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, Institute of Health and Society, Catholic University of Louvain:
“The risk of drought in Southern Africa and in Central America is likely to intensify and this will mean in Southern Africa it’s going to be quite spectacular, also because of the political turmoil in that region.”
14. Med shot, person taking photo with mobile phone.
15. Med shot, speakers in profile.
16. Med shot, speakers, front on.
17. Close up, journalist.
18. Med shot, speakers either side of UN logo.

STORYLINE:

Natural disasters affected more than 60 million people around the world in 2018 and claimed over 10,300 lives, despite the absence of a cataclysmic event, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), said on Thursday.

“In spite of the lack of a mega-disaster, still 60 million people have been affected in many different ways, in terms of losing their jobs, their livelihood, being displaced, being injured or whatnot,” said Mami Mizutori, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.

“No part of the globe was spared,” she added, in a review of disaster events in 2018, a joint exercise by UNISDR and UC Louvain - Catholic University of Louvain. And while improved natural hazard management was a contributing factor in the relatively low death toll – at least compared with the 2000-2017 average - the absence of a mega-disasters was a crucial factor, such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake which killed at least 200,000 people.

“Mortality last year caused by disaster is pretty low compared to the average figure between the year 2000 and 2017 and this is due to one fact that there was what you would call a mega-disaster last year,” Mizutori said. “But also, it is the result of much better disaster management carried out in many countries at both the national and local level.”

Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes were the deadliest disasters last year; the worst event was the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami, which hit the island of Sulawesi in September, triggering a massive mudslide and leaving 3,400 people dead.

But this was only one of a series of natural tragedies to hit South-East Asia and Melanesia in 2018, specifically Indonesia and Papua New Guinea – where in the early months of the year, a string of earthquakes left 181 dead and affected more than half a million people.

Across the world, the trend of devastating wildfires from 2017 continued into 2018, with nine recorded major events. This included the Attica Fires in Greece, which claimed an estimated 126 lives – making the disaster the deadliest in Europe in the last two centuries, according to UC Louvain’s data.
“In the United States, the biggest wildfire in the history,” said Mizutori, adding that “in Europe, even in places such as Sweden, you had wildfires”.

“And then there were floods, storms,” she continued. “When we think about drought which is the biggest disaster that is affecting the African continent but not only - Australia, even Europe - we have to admit that we still don’t know much about drought, how it really is affecting people.”

UC Louvain’s Dr Debarati Guha-Sapir echoed concern about drought in 2019, particularly in Southern Africa and Central America.

“The risk of drought in Southern Africa and in Central America is likely to intensify and this will mean in Southern Africa it’s going to be quite spectacular, also because of the political turmoil in that region,” she said.

Among the other forecasts for 2019, the El Nino weather phenomenon is set to cause major disruption, Dr Guha-Sapir added: “We think that in 2019, the potential for El Nino impact in extreme events is going to be quite serious. We have not had it in the last two or three years, it’s true, but I think this is going to build up, and 2019 is foreseen as a major El Nino year, and we may see very serious and severe impact.”

By country, India saw the highest number of people affected, at nearly 24 million, followed by the Philippines (6.5 million) and China (6.4 million). Flooding affected more people than any other type of natural hazard in the 21st century, but 2018 saw a respite from the hazard overall, with Bangladesh, Pakistan and Vietnam reporting fewer incidents last year.

Looking ahead, UN Special Representative Mizutori called for better disaster prevention, as agreed by the international community in the 2015 Sendai Framework.
In particular, it recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk, in areas such as urban planning.

“More than half the world’s population now live in urban areas, but how is urbanization taking place?” asked Mizutori. “It’s taking place in a very unplanned and informal way. There is not focus on planning regulations, building codes to protect ecosystems.”
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