30 August 2016, GENEVA – The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Robert Glasser, has written to the Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Matteo Renzi, and expressed his condolences on the tragic loss of life in last week’s earthquake and welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to build a culture of prevention in the earthquake-prone country.
The Italian PM announced yesterday his intention to present a national plan, Casa Italia, to make Italy safer against earthquakes and to appoint a Commissioner to oversee the reconstruction effort.
Mr. Glasser said: “So far this year, notably in Ecuador, Japan and Italy, many hundreds of lives have been lost in urban environments which have not withstood the ultimate test which nature can devise, a powerful earthquake.
“These devastating events remind us that homes, schools, health facilities and work places have to be prioritised when it comes to reducing existing levels of risk in urban settings which pre-date modern best-practice and we have to avoid the creation of new risk with increasing urbanisation in the decades ahead.
“It does not cost much more to ensure that buildings are finished to earthquake-resistant standards and in the end the most expensive building is the one that collapses in an earthquake and then needs to be rebuilt.