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UN Teams With China To Curb Natural Disaster Risk

UN’s Asia-Pacific Arm Teams Up With China To Curb Disaster Risk

New York, Sep 23 2008 10:10AM

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has joined forces with China, which was struck by a devastating earthquake in May that left nearly 100,000 dead or missing, to reduce the damage wrought by future disasters.

“The Asia-Pacific region shares a disproportionate burden of the global loss of life from disasters,” ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer said today during a visit to China’s Sichuan province, which was ravaged by the May tremors.

Some 80 per cent of casualties from global disasters in the past seven years have occurred in the region, which is home to six of the world’s 10 most affected countries by number of victims, she added.

The new ESCAP-China partnership will focus on three key areas.

First, it seeks to improve disaster risk reduction and preparedness by improving access to information, such as through early warning systems.

It also aims to assess the socio-economic impact of disasters, and lastly it targets enhancing existing South-South cooperation to share disaster management experiences.

Ms. Heyzer stopped in the town of Yingsiu, the earthquake’s epicentre, situated 200 kilometres northwest of Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital. “The smooth coordination with which the relief and rescue effort was undertaken despite the sheer enormity of the task is truly admirable,” she said.


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