GENEVA, 20 May 2016 – The head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Robert Glasser, today said it will be impossible to reach the World Humanitarian Summit goal of halving the current record numbers of internally displaced by 2030 without a shift from managing disasters to managing disaster risk.
Mr. Glasser said: “There were 19.2 million people newly displaced by disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes last year. While 20% of the UN’s humanitarian budget goes on responding to disaster situations only 40 cents of every US$100 spent on aid goes towards measures which would reduce the future likelihood of displacement on this scale, often from events which are predictable and recur frequently.
“There are affordable low cost solutions to avoiding people losing their homes in disasters. Good urban planning would ensure that homes are earthquake-resistant or not built in flood plains or on unstable hillsides. Building regulations in coastal regions should take account of sea level rise and the growing intensity of tropical storms linked to climate change.
“The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction is concerned about the impact which drought is having in many parts of the world particularly in the Horn of Africa and southern Africa where as many as 60 million people are affected. There needs to be a major re-think on how we grapple with the long-running problem of agricultural drought which can contribute to food shortages, forced displacement and conflict.”