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| ||FLASH INFO|
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In his address, the Director-General recalled that in recent months the world has witnessed, in both industrialized and developing countries, a number of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, wildfires, heat waves and hurricanes. Moreover, various technological hazards such as contamination by toxic chemicals and oil spills present serious threats to ecosystems. He pointed out that societies are becoming more vulnerable to natural and man-made hazards and that our protective systems are not necessarily adapted to cope. Mr Matsuura stressed that the toll from disasters is particularly severe and tragic in poor countries.
| ||Importance of natural disaster reduction|
26-09-2003 - At UNESCO Headquarters today, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, opened a meeting on the reduction of natural disasters in selected cities.
Mr Matsuura called for a shift in emphasis from post-disaster reaction to pre-disaster action, explaining that “we need to place far greater emphasis on the prevention of disasters”. He called for more systematic approaches to the generation of disaster mitigation measures and disaster preparedness tools, stressing that “we need to improve our monitoring and early warning mechanisms, remembering that to anticipate is better than to adapt”.
The Director-General was opening a meeting on a cross-cutting themes project concerning the reduction of natural disasters in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. In its current phase, the project focuses on the cities of Tijuana in Mexico, Antofagasta in Chile, Kathmandu in Nepal and Dehradun in India.
Mayors and officials of these cities are attending the meeting as well as more than sixty disaster management specialists and experts from countries in different regions and from a range of disaster prevention bodies and international organizations. The meeting is held in the context of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).