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The need for the International Decade of Natural Hazard Reduction

January 1, 1990

Natural disasters affect countires large and small, rich or poor, whatever their political persuasion. The toll exacted by natural calamities each year drains the human and economic resources of every nation and stands as one of the formidable barriers to national, regional, and world development.

Over the last 20 years, natural disasters have killed nearly 3 million people and disrupted the lives of over 800 million others. In 2 years there were more than 50 serious natural disasters, including landslides in Italy, France, and Colombia; a typhoon in Korea; wildfires in China and the United State; a windstorm in England; grasshopper plagues in Africa's horns and the Sahel; tornadoes in Canada; devastating earthquakes in Soviet Armenia and Tadzhikistan; infestations in Africa; landslides in Brazil; and tornadoes in the United States.