World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Devastating tsunamis underscore need for better preparation

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called for greater preparedness to offset the disastrous impact of tsunamis, which are causing increasing human, economic and development losses, illustrated most recently by the destruction across the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

“Tsunamis are rare but devastating,” said the Secretary-General in a message on World Tsunami Awareness Day, adding that he saw the impact “first-hand” during his recent visit to Sulawesi.

According to the UN coordination office for humanitarian affairs (OCHA), the disaster claimed 2,077 lives, with more than 1,000 still missing. In all, over 1.5 million people were affected, including 211,000 displaced, and the disaster resulted in estimated $910 million in damages.

Globally, the scale of losses to tsunamis is staggering: between 1998-2017, over 250,000 people died and $280 billion was lost as a result of tsunami events, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), with countries along the Indian and Pacific Oceans worst hit.

Better preparation for likely disasters is therefore vital, added the Secretary-General, noting also that such efforts are required to implement the targets under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction as well as for eradicating extreme poverty.

“World Tsunami Awareness Day is an opportunity to emphasize again the importance of disaster prevention and preparedness,” he said, “including early warning, public education, science to better understand and predict tsunamis, and development that takes account of risk in seismic zones and exposed coastal areas.”


María Fernanda Espinosa, the President of the 73rd session of the General Assembly, also highlighted the need for robust preparedness and prevention.

Speaking at a commemorative event at the UN Headquarters, in New York, Ms. Espinosa said that the destructive force of tsunamis can quite literally “wash away” cities, villages, lives and livelihoods.

“For countries and regions at risk, avoiding such risk requires investing in risk-informed development,” she said, adding that on the human side, strengthening public awareness and preparedness “must be pursed with every effort at our disposal.”

Efforts addressing disaster risk and in recovering from hazards also offer “one of the strongest spaces for multilateralism,” the Assembly President continued, citing examples of countries working together in response to the 2017 hurricanes in the Caribbean, the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, and the recent tsunami in Indonesia.

Lastly, she also called for programmes to focus on women, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, given that these groups are disproportionately impacted by disasters.

World Tsunami Awareness Day

In December 2015, the UN General Assembly designated 5 November as World Tsunami Awareness Day, calling on all countries, international bodies and civil society to observe the day, to raise tsunami awareness and share innovative approaches to saving lives.

This year, the World Day focuses on Target “C” of the Sendai Framework, which aims at reducing economic losses due to tsunamis.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

APEC : Leaders Issue Kuala Lumpur Declaration

The leaders of the 21 APEC member economies issued the Kuala Lumpur Declaration following the first-ever virtual 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Convening for the first time since the ... More>>

UN: Refugee Resettlement Numbers Fall To Lowest In Two Decades

Refugee resettlement numbers will be at a “record low” this year, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Wednesday, with only 15,425 people resettled in the first nine months of 2020, compared to more than 50,000 in 2019. In 2016, resettlement ... More>>

G20: Global Co-Operation And Strong Policy Action Needed For A Sustainable Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed major weaknesses in our economies that can only be fixed through greater global co-operation and strong, targeted policy action, according to a new OECD report presented to the Leaders of the G20 countries at their ... More>>

OECD: GDP Rebounded By 9.0% In The Third Quarter Of 2020 But Remains Below Pre-Pandemic High

Following the unprecedented falls in real gross domestic product (GDP) in the first half of the year in the wake of COVID-19 containment measures, GDP in the OECD area rebounded by 9.0% in the third quarter of 2020 but it remains 4.3% below its pre-crisis ... More>>