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UN recognizes Campinas’ lead to reduce disaster risk

The UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) today recognized the dynamic and vibrant economic and technological centre of Campinas for its commitment to reduce its disaster risk. The Head of UNISDR, Margareta Wahlström, officially acknowledged Campinas as Brazil’s first Role Model City of UNISDR's Making Cities Resilient campaign.
22 Jul 2013 News briefs

‘The fact we learn so slowly means we pay for it in dollars’

“Neither disasters nor climate change is an issue for the future it’s an issue for today. The fact that we learn so slowly means we are paying for it – and we are paying in dollars” – the Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Ms Margareta Wahlström challenges the world to strengthen its approach to disaster risk management and reverse the escalation in direct economic losses from disasters. Ms Wahlström was interviewed for this TVNZ news report while at the 2013 Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Fiji, this month.
22 Jul 2013 News briefs

Lebanon embarks on regional first with disaster risk plan

GENEVA, 21 August 2013 - Lebanon is seeking to become the first country in the Arab region to adopt an overarching National Strategy for Disaster Risk Management that balances corrective, prospective and compensatory action. The building of political will and leadership, local collaboration, and regional and international partnerships is underpinning the effort despite significant ongoing challenges.
21 Aug 2013 News briefs

Disability survey: 'Take my wisdom, not my dignity'

Double amputee Firoz Ali Alizada believes that people living with disabilities are the biggest untapped resource for disaster planners around the world. The 31-year-old uses the example of his home country Afghanistan where people living with disabilities remain on the margins of decision making despite providing such a compelling example of day to day resilience.
3 Sep 2013 News briefs

‘I've managed disasters and not fell in a screaming heap’

Stuart Mawbey is an emergency service volunteer worker and manager as well as a person living with disabilities. He has spent the last 15 years assisting in emergencies in the Australian States of South Australia and New South Wales. Here he reflects on the immense personal satisfaction he derives from his volunteerism as well as the ongoing challenges he faces as a person living with disabilities. As a volunteer with the State Emergency Service (SES) our primary role is to assist the community with floods and storms, however I have also participated in remote area search and rescue, forensic searches, bushfire assistance, traffic control and safety for community events.
6 Sep 2013 News briefs

World Heritage city moves to secure its future

The UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Dubrovnik, globally celebrated for its rich past and environmental beauty, is taking steps to ensure its future is safeguarded from the threat of disaster. The city, which has been an active member of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s (UNISDR) “Making City Resilient” campaign is taking a series of measures to strengthen resilience at the local level.
12 Sep 2013 News briefs

People with disabilities: a power for change not a burden

BANGKOK, 20 September 2013 – Chaiyaphon Phupharat knows what he is talking about when he speaks about disability and how people living with disabilities are more vulnerable when disasters happen. In 1995, when he was 33 years old, Mr Chaiyaphon was involved in a road accident and has been in a wheelchair since. The incident prompted him to join the Council of Persons with Disabilities in Thailand and he has since become the organisation’s director.
20 Sep 2013 News briefs

Tragedy brings Oslo into UNISDR's Cities Campaign

The Mayor of Oslo, Mr. Fabian Stang, last night announced that the Norwegian capital has joined UNISDR's Making Cities Resilient Campaign and linked it to the tragic events of July 2011 when 77 people were murdered in bombings and a mass shooting.
24 Sep 2013 News briefs

Old Oslo airport becomes HFA showcase

An innovative Norwegian development is successfully addressing the most challenging priorities of the Hyogo Framework for Action: reducing underlying factors that drive urban disaster risk.
25 Sep 2013 News briefs

Local and regional leaders meet in Rabat to discuss 21st century agenda for Cities

With less than ten days left for the 2nd World Summit of Local and regional Leaders and the 4th United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Congress, the city of Rabat is preparing to host from 1-4 October 2013 one of the biggest assemblies of local and regional elected representatives from across the world.
25 Sep 2013 News briefs

Climate change will lead to dramatic escalation of disasters and economic losses says UNISDR

Based on current disaster trends and economic values, the world is looking at a minimum cost in the region of 25 trillion dollars in disaster losses for the 21st century if there is no concerted response to climate change, one which puts the emphasis on practical measures to reduce disaster risk and exposure to future extreme events. Margareta Wahlström, the Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, said: “The robust science behind the latest Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change report translates into a world of catastrophic losses unless there are wholesale changes in how we allocate resources to prepare for extreme weather events. We are looking at losses the equivalent of one-third of annual global GDP. Clearly this is neither sustainable nor acceptable.
30 Sep 2013 Press release

Finland set to launch HFA peer review

Finland is set to follow in the footsteps of the UK this week and launch a peer review of its national implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), the global agreement on disaster risk reduction. The 4th European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) heard that Finland is aiming for the same impact as the UK’s peer review – the world’s first – which served as a catalyst for high-level engagement and reflection. As Finland prepared for its review, which gets underway on 5 October, EFDRR members called for a better understanding of advances in governance and accountability of disaster management. They agreed to consolidate Europe’s learning in this regard.
1 Oct 2013 News briefs

Desert Oasis Towns May Disappear

The mayor of an isolated oasis town yesterday warned that these 'desert islands of humanity' may disappear as a result of climate change unless drastic action is taken.
3 Oct 2013 News briefs

African universities reach out to local disaster managers

A leading academic has called on universities to engage more with vulnerable communities and to empower local disaster managers in their efforts to address various daunting challenges.
3 Oct 2013 News briefs

Cities key to mitigating flood risk

Increased urban flooding poses a direct threat to the wellbeing of several metropolitan areas unless cities became more inclusive in their approaches to reduce disaster risk, the world’s biggest congress of local leaders was told Last year 116 million people around the world were affected by floods and many millions were forced to flee their homes. The Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Ms Margareta Wahlström, told participants at the Fourth United Cities and Local Governments Congress that “inclusive cities are resilient cities”.
4 Oct 2013 News briefs

Call for post-2015 urban development goal

The World’s biggest forum of local leaders has called for sustainable urban development to be integral to the post-2015 development agenda. The Rabat Declaration at the conclusion of the Fourth United Cities and Local Governments Congress stated: “The new (post-2015) agenda should include specific goals for Sustainable Urban Development.” The Declaration also emphasized the importance of inclusion and a local focus. “The right to the city, inclusion, equality, access to essential services, decent work, adequate housing, culture, and a balanced environment are essential elements in the sustainable future for all.
7 Oct 2013 News briefs

Disasters lead to new Europe housing strategy

A meeting of ministers and heads of agencies for housing, urban development and land administration from 55 countries in Geneva this week adopted a new Strategy for Sustainable Housing which will boost implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, the current global agreement for reducing disaster risk, across wider Europe. The Ministerial Meeting on Housing and Land Management for the region covered by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) recognized that “Natural as well as human-generated disasters, including those created by a changing climate, have resulted in large-scale damage to housing across the ECE region and present serious challenges for governments.” The Strategy calls for “common efforts by member States to develop frameworks for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. This includes emergency preparedness, contingency planning and risk-prevention measures through building safer houses in safer places and locating hazardous industry and other activities at safe distances from housing.”
11 Oct 2013 News briefs

Open data makes disaster risks visible

As UNISDR makes its final call for input to the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR15) the role of open data and risk information is emerging as an essential element of sustainable development. Preparations for the UN flagship report are gathering pace and there is growing research into the modeling of disaster risks, which can provide the type of information to help governments plan better, educate people to make informed decisions, and assist companies to ensure their investments are secure. “We are in a relationship with risk and we need to manage that relationship. In fact, we like risk in many ways but need to make sure we are risk aware. In order to do this, people need access to the best possible information,” said UNISDR’s Information Management Coordinator Craig Duncan.
15 Oct 2013 News briefs

Earthquake disrupts hospitals and schools

The death toll in Tuesday’s 7.2 earthquake in the Philippines has risen to 156 with 3.2 million people affected including 47,000 displaced. There have been 1,213 aftershocks recorded including 24 of which were felt. An assessment released today by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council cites damage or destruction of over 2,000 homes and damage to seaports, airports, churches, government/public buildings, hospitals and private establishments in the Provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Leyte. Two bodies were recovered yesterday from the inside the collapsed Congressman Castillo Memorial Hospital and city engineers declared three other hospitals in Cebu City unsafe to be occupied.
17 Oct 2013 News briefs

Cities campaign helps reduce cyclone losses

Last week's devastating Cyclone Phalin is so far estimated to have cost $700 million. This figure would be higher but for the affected Indian State of Odisha's strong record in disaster management, according to a leading urban activist based in the State capital of Bhubaneswar. Dr Piyush Ranjan Rout, who is an advocate for UNISDR's Making Cities Resilient Campaign, said the focus on accountability and reducing disaster risk had avoided an even worse outcome.
23 Oct 2013 News briefs

Millions back 'Disability is not Inability' message

One tweet on 13 October this year, "Disability is not inability! I am supporting this year's International Day for Disaster Reduction", was the simple message that galvanized over five million people all over the world on social media around the critical issue of persons living with disabilities and disasters.
28 Oct 2013 News briefs

New York moves on from Sandy

Exactly a year ago, Sandy proved to be the most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, severely impacting lives and economies in seven countries. For the United States, it was the second-costliest hurricane in its history and affected the entire eastern seaboard, causing an alarming economic bill of up to $50 billion. New York City was one of the worst affected. On the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy this week, however, the city appears occupied with its future rather than its past. Heeding the signs of a changing climate, in June this year, New York City released its plan to protect the city from coastal hazards and climate change impacts called A Stronger, More Resilient New York.
1 Nov 2013 News briefs

Tsunami city ‘starts from zero’

The Mayor of a Japanese city devastated by the March 2011 tsunami aims to make his municipality a global leader of inclusive redevelopment. Mr Futoshi Toba, the Mayor of Rikuzenkata City in Iwate prefecture, said: “We can start from zero and make sure that every citizen is integrated in the planning and reconstruction process, in particular those persons with disabilities and the elderly people who were the most exposed by the 11 March disaster.” The Mayor was speaking during the visit of Ms Margareta Wahlström, the Head of the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). “Rikuzentakata has the opportunity to become a model city for the world,” the Mayor said. “Our city will have a lot to showcase on inclusive reconstruction processes that can help other cities in the world to be better prepared against disasters. We hope to share this experience to the world.”
5 Nov 2013 News briefs

UN Day events focus on disaster risk

Brussels - Two mayors working hard to make their cities safer and more resilient took advantage of the recent United Nations Day to showcase the importance of reducing disaster risk.
6 Nov 2013 News briefs

Super Typhoon Haiyan "a turning point" for disaster risk management

The Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, today extended her condolences to the Philippines government and people on the heavy loss of life and extensive damage to critical infrastructure, homes and workplaces caused by the devastating Category 5 Cyclone Haiyan or Yolanda as it is known in the Philippines.
12 Nov 2013 Press release

Senator urges ‘don’t rebuild risks again’

As the Philippines embarks on a massive recovery effort in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan, one of the country’s leading senators said it is vital that “we do not rebuild the risks again”. Senator Loren Legarda lent her full support to ongoing efforts in search and rescue and emergency relief but also emphasized the need for a longer term vision of reconstruction that will reduce the vulnerability and exposure of communities to hazards. “Affected citizens immediately need food, water, clothing, shelter and medicines but we must now also start addressing the need to rehabilitate affected communities,” said Sen. Legarda, who is Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change. “It will not be enough to build people’s lives and communities to where they were before the disaster; we need to rebuild communities with the confidence that we are not rebuilding the risks again.
13 Nov 2013 News briefs

Philippines poor bear brunt of disasters

It is the poor and people engaged in family-based and informal sector enterprises who will bear the brunt of typhoon Haiyan. As initial estimates of economic losses from the disaster are put at up to $US 15 billion, or 5 per cent of the Philippines’ annual GDP, the Head of Advocacy and Outreach of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Mr Jerry Velasquez, said: “It is a common theme across Asia that marginal farmers, fishermen, small-scale entrepreneurs and poor urban households shoulder the greatest losses from disasters.”
14 Nov 2013 News briefs

Cities campaign at core of island development plans

The 10 essentials of the Making Cities Resilient have formed a key part of a series of ambitious local action plans to strengthen sustainable development in Lanzarote. A coalition of political representatives and 33 community sectors who comprise the Biosphere Reserve Committee have joined to drive the impressive effort to strengthen local resilience on the Canary Island, in the Atlantic, off the north-west coast of Africa. An integrated management system has been developed covering 10 sectors, including energy, water and waste management, to strengthen climate change mitigation and adaptation.
28 Nov 2013 News briefs

Tacloban to call typhoon summit

The City of Tacloban which accounts for almost 50% of the dead and displaced in the Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) disaster, is to hold a summit inviting mayors and other public representatives to come to the city to talk about the lessons learned for disaster risk management. The announcement comes with recognition by the city authorities that there were several barriers to compliance with evacuation procedures despite many sweeps through the most exposed neighbourhoods – or Barangays as they are known in the Philippines – by teams of local volunteers and officials led by the Barangay captains. Three days before Typhoon Haiyan struck, a meeting was called by the City Mayor, Alfred Romualdez, of all 138 Barangay Captains to be briefed on the coming storm and they were all instructed to order their constituents to evacuate. The meeting was reportedly attended by about 75% of all Barangay captains.
10 Dec 2013 News briefs

Private sector to the fore in Haiyan response

Private sector representatives took their place today alongside the usual line-up of NGOs and international organizations who came together to brainstorm a rehabilitation plan for those parts of Cebu province which suffered significant losses because of Typhoon Haiyan (known in the Philippines as Yolanda). Governor Hilario Davide III said the plan would be ready for launch in mid-January and praised the private sector for its active partnership with the provincial government in both the relief effort and now in the planning for the rehabilitation phase. “Public-private partnerships will become increasingly important as we move from the response phase to rehabilitation and seek to build back better,” he said.
11 Dec 2013 News briefs
The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in 2015 The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in 2015.
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