The land of heroes
Our heroes
Our land
Cambodia Kingdom

Saturday, October 01, 2011

UN Seeks Greater Government Investments In Disaster Risk Reduction

By Mark Dunphy

Vietnam has witnessed heavy rains and flooding in August and September 2011, resulting in a spate of landslides © Courtesy Vietnam Red Cross/Nghe An Chapter

The United Nations (UN) on Friday voiced concern as hundreds of people have been killed and millions more have been affected by the floods ravaging a number of Asian countries.

Pakistan, the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand are all suffering from the effects of flood waters and many people have lost their lives as a result. The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) went on to urge governments to increase their investments in disaster risk reduction.

Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, underlined that people should not die because of floods. “We have the technology to alert communities before floods arrive,” Wahlström said. “People can be evacuated in time, lives saved and livelihoods protected. Once again, early warning systems are the smart choice and the most efficient of all disaster prevention measures.”

In addition, many have seen their infrastructure damaged and their services interrupted by heavy rains, Wahlström noted, expressing concern over the long-term economic impact of the floods on the affected countries.

Floods account for a significant amount of damage to public assets such as health and education facilities as well as to the livelihoods, homes and assets of poor people, according to a UNISDR report. However, most of these losses are not recorded by governments, making it difficult for them to invest in disaster reduction measures.

“The invisible nature of this large volume of disaster loss is one reason why so many countries are finding it difficult to make both political and economic decisions to prioritize investment in disaster risk management,” said Wahlström.

Cambodia has been struck by the worst flooding in a decade, as tens of thousands of hectares of rice paddies have been inundated and about 300 schools have been closed after heavy rains. More than 17,000 families have been evacuated to higher ground in 12 provinces across the country while at least 141 people have been killed.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, more than two million acres of farmland are underwater and more than 635 schools have been damaged, leaving thousands of children out of school. Floods there have also left more than 170 people killed.

Devastating floods have further affected Pakistan for the second year in a row. The World Food Program (WFP) reports that 5.4 million people have been affected, 73 percent of the harvest has been destroyed, and 36 percent of the livestock has been killed in flooded areas.

WFP spokesperson Gaelle Sévenier said the agency has provided 7,000 tons of food rations to 490,000 people in flood-affected areas in Pakistan and added it will increase its efforts to provide food assistance to 500,000 new beneficiaries by the end of the month. More than 300 people have also been killed.

No comments: