A new report from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) published last week, warns that half of the world’s countries are not protected by multi-hazard early warning systems.
Coinciding with the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction , the numbers in the report are even worse for developing countries on the front lines of climate change, the report states. Less than half of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and only one-third of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), have a multi-hazard early warning system.
The report, Global Status of Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems – Target G, is based on new data that shows that countries with limited early warning coverage have mortality rates during disasters, that are eight times higher than countries with substantial to comprehensive coverage.
Deadly failure to invest
“The world is failing to invest in protecting the lives and livelihoods of those on the front line. Those who have done the least to cause the climate crisis are paying the highest price”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a video message marking the day.
The report shows that LDCs, SIDS, and countries in Africa, require the most investment to increase early warning coverage and adequately protect themselves against disasters.
“As this report was being prepared, Pakistan is dealing with its worst recorded climate disaster, with nearly 1,700 lives lost”, said Mami Mizutori, UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNDRR.
“Despite this carnage, the death toll would have been much higher if not for early warning systems.”
“Worryingly, this report highlights significant gaps in protection as only half of the countries globally have Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems”, she added. “This is a situation that needs to urgently change, to save lives, livelihoods, and assets”.
Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General, said the number of recorded disasters has increased five-fold, “driven in part by human-induced climate change and more extreme weather. This trend is expected to continue. Early warning systems are a proven and effective climate adaptation measure, that save lives and money”.
“But we can and must do better. We need to ensure that early warnings reach the most vulnerable and that they are translated into early action,” he added. “This is why WMO is spearheading a UN initiative on Early Warnings for All in the next five years.”
SOURCE: UN News/SLT. Headline photo courtesy UNDRR/Chris Huby