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Background

At regular but unpredictable intervals, people around the world are affected by natural hazards. These may be caused by climate (eg drought, flood, cyclone) geology (eg earthquake, volcano, tidal wave, landslide) the environment (eg pollution, deforestation, desertification, pest infestation) or combinations of these. Hazards become disasters when people’s homes and livelihoods are destroyed. Poverty, population pressures and environmental degradation mean that increasing numbers of people are vulnerable to natural hazards. Increasing population and urbanisation is increasing the world’s exposure to natural hazards, especially in coastal areas (with greater exposure to floods, cyclones and tidal waves). Although worldwide disaster occurrence seems to follow an upward trend, some of their impacts on societies (victims and economic damages) have not increased as preparedness has improved.

Disaster management

Disaster management is a complex series of activities that include risk assessment, prevention measures, preparedness to cope with future disasters, emergency response to a disaster, recovery and reconstruction.

Good development and community preparedness can reduce the impact of a disaster especially for the most vulnerable people, such as those living in hazard-prone areas with few financial resources to help them recover if they lose their means of livelihood.

Facts

The second Wednesday in October is International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction which focuses on the urgent need for prevention activities to reduce loss of life, damage to property, infrastructure and environment, and the social and economic disruption caused by natural disasters.


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