Every year, around 250 million people are affected by natural disasters. The cyclones and hurricanes which hit Myanmar and the Caribbean in recent months killed tens of thousands and caused enormous damage. Developing countries in particular are often inadequately prepared for natural disasters.
With a view to tomorrow's United Nations International Day for Disaster Reduction, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement today (7 October) in Berlin:
"The number and scale of natural disasters has been increasing for many years now. We therefore need a disaster-reduction system.
During 2008 alone Germany has supported projects worldwide aimed at improving disaster reduction to the tune of 9 million euro. Early-warning systems, evacuation plans or emergency training can help prevent suffering and protect developing countries in particular from massive infrastructure and property damage.
This is the practical side of a forward-looking foreign policy. We will continue to work towards progress in disaster reduction worldwide."
In cooperation with the UN, the Red Cross and Red Crescent associations, NGOs and local partner organizations, the Federal Foreign Office promotes disaster-reduction projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America. These above all focus on coastal regions, the areas especially threatened by the effects of climate change.