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La sécurité des structures de cette école a été évaluée avec la méthode Visus, au Laos. © UNESCO / J. Torres

“Live to Tell”

Disasters induced by natural hazards affect millions of people every year worldwide. The resulting loss of life is tragic, highlighting the vulnerabilities all societies share. The impact is also developmental, with disasters leading to estimated annual economic losses of USD$ 250 to 300 billion -- this will increase with the rising pressures of climate change, overpopulation and urbanization.

In response, 2015 saw historic agreements, with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement. This includes the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, adopted in Sendai, Japan, that examines global progress on disaster risk reduction and identifies priority actions to be taken.

UNESCO is acting across the board, in advocating for risk awareness, prevention and preparedness, in fostering learning and in building capacity. Operating at the interface between the natural and social sciences, education, culture and communication, UNESCO seeks to bolster the resilience of societies — through early warning, capacity building, knowledge sharing and networking, and policy advice, working with governments, civil society, research institutions, other UN agencies and international organisations, and all key actors.

This International Day for Disaster Reduction is an opportunity to mobilise the world to move forward the new agenda. For this, we must raise new awareness and share experience, to show that every country can reduce risks. To this end, UNESCO is leading regional consultative workshops to enhance understanding of local priorities and needs for disaster risk reduction — we must work from the bottom-up, with societies across the world, to have a meaningful and lasting impact. This is UNESCO’s message on International Day for Disaster Reduction.

     Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
     on the occasion of International Day for Disaster Reduction 2016

UNESCO's action

Facts and Figures

  • More than 226 million people are affected by disasters every year. Over the last 40 years, most of the 3.3 million deaths caused by disasters occurred in poorer nations.
  • In 2000-2010, over 680,000 people died in earthquakes. Most of these deaths, due to poorly-built buildings, could have been prevented.
  • Less than 0.7 per cent of total relief aid goes to disaster risk reduction, although every dollar spent on preparedness saves 7 dollars in response.
  • Between 2002 and 2011, there were 4,130 recorded disasters from natural hazards around the world, in which more than 1.117 million people perished and a minimum of US$1,195 billion was recorded in losses.
  • In East Asia and the Pacific, the risks of dying from floods and cyclones have decreased by two thirds since 1980.


Towards Resilient Non-Engineered Construction
Coming soon

Today, more than 90% of the population living in earthquake-prone regions are living and working in informal buildings, and most losses of lives during earthquakes have occurred due to their collapse. These two publications provide a new, culturally sensitive approach for safer construction. Following the release of technical guidelines in 2014, Towards Resilient Non-Engineered Construction covers a wider range of social, economic, and administrative aspects to facilitate policy-making.

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