Today half of the world's population
is under threat from the forces of nature - one fifth of the earth's surface
is regularly affected by earthquakes, vol-canic eruptions, floods, drought,
landslides and storms. There are indications that such events are increasingly
frequent. Moreover, the effects of cli-mate change are becoming evident.
The negative impacts of such natural
events affect increasing numbers of people: 6.9 billion people live on
our planet today and, according to UN esti-mates, this number will have