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Friday, January 14, 2005

Disasters need new approach - World Bank rep

Disasters need new approach - Xian Zhu
NEXT week, world experts in disaster management will gather at the site of Japan's worst recent catastrophe, the Kobe earthquake, which killed 6400 people in 1995. The Boxing Day tsunami and its tragic impacts give the World Conference on Disaster Reduction more immediate significance...

At Kobe, Pacific Island delegates will help deliver a message that a post-tsunami world needs to hear. Natural hazards such as cyclones or tsunamis cannot be stopped -- but the risk of a hazard becoming a human catastrophe has to be managed a lot better....

It is becoming clear that countries that take hazard risk management seriously do much better in terms of human survival and protection of land and property. And they should be rewarded with greater assistance....

Most importantly, there needs to be political will at the highest levels to plan for these ever-present risks. The next cyclone, tsunami, or earthquake may not happen tomorrow. But it will happen. How it is managed is a collective responsibility.

Xian Zhu is country director for the World Bank in the Pacific Islands, PNG and Timor-Leste.
I wonder if that's the official World Bank line? And who is he referring to when he talks about "collective responsibility"?


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