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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 02:08 GMT
World 'lacks will' on disasters

Flood victims in India
Climate change will intensify some disasters, the report says
There is a global lack of political will on preparing for natural disasters, according to a report by British MPs.

The International Development Committee says donors are unwilling to fund preventative and protective measures.

And it says the government's aim of spending 10% of disaster response funds on preventing future damage should be extended to all humanitarian budgets.

The report says two-thirds of natural disasters relate to climatic changes.

It also urges the UK to lobby international partners to spend more on prevention.

Lives saved through risk reduction are invisible to the media, whereas people pulled from the rubble are highly visible
International Development Committee

But, the committee says, there is a reluctance at international level to link disasters with the changing climate.

"More and more people are being afflicted by natural disasters and the impact of climate change will increase the number of disasters exponentially," said committee chair Malcolm Bruce.

"Yet, political decision-makers are failing to make responsible preparations."

Rising tide

The number of natural disasters is rising, the report finds, and so is the money allocated globally to humanitarian programmes, which almost tripled between 1995 and 2005.

In its White Paper, published in July, Britain's Department for International Development (DfID) pledged to spend 10% of funds allocated for any natural disaster on measures aimed at reducing the risk of future events.

Flood victims in Bangladesh

Now, says the committee, DfID should go further, extending the 10% figure for disaster risk reduction (DRR) to its overall humanitarian budget and persuading other donors to adopt the same strategy.

"We are calling for the UK, EU, World Bank and other donors to devote at least 10% of their total humanitarian budgets to reducing the impact of potential disasters," said Mr Bruce.

But, the report says, donors have historically been resistant. It says: "Lives saved through DRR are invisible to the media, whereas people pulled from the rubble by search and rescue teams are highly visible."

The United Nations, which co-ordinates and funds much of the global response to large disasters, is not immune from criticism.

But, says the report, failings within the UN are largely the fault of national governments.

"The international humanitarian system will only ever be as effective as political decision-makers will allow," it concludes.




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