This edition analyses the 2009 disaster figures based on the EM-DAT database, with comparisons to previous years, providing an evidence base to the international community on the burden of disease and related health issues due to disasters and conflicts, in order (i) to assist humanitarian action at both national and international levels; (ii) to rationalize decision-making for disaster preparedness; and (iii) to provide an objective basis for vulnerability assessment and priority setting. It includes all types of natural and human-made disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and storms; longer-term disasters such as famines and droughts; and situations creating mass displacement of people such as civil strife and conflicts.
The report asserts that the natural hazard related disaster impact on human society in 2009 was relatively small compared to previous years, although the consequences were critical to many families who lost their loved ones and livelihoods. It urges countries to be better prepared for the destructive impact of natural disasters. It advocates for underlying factors and preconditions that make human populations vulnerable to disasters to be addressed in order to mitigate impacts and create resilient and sustainable societies.
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