We can stop disaster risk spiralling out of control

(Context, 15 May 2023) Greater efforts to limit death and destruction from disasters will help us protect development progress and adapt to climate change

Mami Mizutori is Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

Smashing homes and health facilities, while wiping out crops and flooding widespread areas, Cyclone Freddy, which hit southeast Africa in February and March of this year, was a preview into the future. In the worst-affected areas, people were using their bare hands to dig through rubble and mud, searching for survivors.

We are not reducing planet-heating emissions fast enough to stop climate change -and now we are faced with the daunting task of preparing for worst-case scenarios of increasingly extreme weather events.

To understand where the world stands in preventing such events from becoming disasters, the UN General Assembly mandated the midterm review of the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a key international agreement adopted in 2015 by 187 countries to reduce disaster losses by the year 2030.

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Context, 15 May 2023: We can stop disaster risk spiralling out of control