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Disaster Risk Reduction Platform
Disasters are on the rise
The number of catastrophic events reported - mainly droughts, floods, windstorms and earthquakes - has tripled in the past 30 years. The number of persons affected rose even more over the same period. Impacts of disasters affect the poor disproportionally. Such impacts constitute a major drawback for economic growth in less developed countries due to the fact that money is often invested in emergency and recovery actions rather than in development. Therefore, natural disasters can be considered as development killers slowing down progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/).
Vulnerability as a key factor
Disasters result from an increased vulnerability to hazardous events, from an increase of severe weather-related events, from a lack of political commitment, a lack of resources as well as a lack of awareness and preparedness by exposed communities and responsible institutions. Vulnerability is dramatically rising in most societies, e.g. due to population growth, urbanisation and concentration of values. Part of the increase roots in inappropriate, non-disaster-resilient development. Furthermore, land degradation and environmental changes (global warming) contribute to higher risks.
The need for action
A further increase of risk factors has to be prevented and existing risks have to be reduced with a special focus on the reduction of vulnerability. Poor societies are of special concern as vulnerability and poverty are closely interlinked. The Hyogo Framework for Action (http://www.unisdr.org/eng/hfa/hfa.htm) has defined Disaster Risk Reduction as a priority for development cooperation. Recently DRR also gained significant attention among a broad range of international actors, including the International Financial Institutions, the UN Funds and Programmes and the insurance industry.
Data on Natural Disasters: