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NTS Alert September 2010 (Issue 1) DISASTER RISK REDUCTION (DRR): REDUCING HUMAN VULNERABILITIES TO NATURAL DISASTERS

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This issue of the NTS Alert offers an overview of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) as a means of improving longterm preparedness against the projected increase in frequency and intensity of natural hazards. It aims to provide a better understanding of DRR in relation to the holistic frameworks of disaster management, sustainable development and climate change adaptation.

Introduction

Over the past decade, the world has witnessed several major natural disasters, from the boxing day tsunami in 2004, to the Haiti earthquake in January 2010 and the recent floods in Pakistan in August 2010. The 'World Disasters Report 2009' states that 3,605 natural disaster occurrences were recorded from 2000 to 2008. In many of these disasters, critics have repeatedly brought up the issue of the failure to provide adequate response, calling on states and international communities to shift from reactive to proactive approaches to disaster management. In fact, as the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) acknowledges, policymakers have come to better understand how natural disasters exacerbate vulnerabilities of states and communities (UN, 2005). It should be noted that natural disasters have greater impact on poor countries and communities in particular as they tend to be more exposed to hazards and have less capacity and awareness to manage disaster risks (Concern Emergency Unit, 2005:2). This places greater importance on disaster risk reduction (DRR) as a means of reducing vulnerabilities of such states and communities and building their resilience to natural hazards.