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Call for global strategy on natural disasters

A global science-based framework to monitor and assess the risks of natural hazards, such as earthquakes and volcano eruptions, is urgently needed to improve natural disaster preparedness, a report has recommended.

The report, Extreme Geohazards: Reducing the disaster risk and increasing resilience, was published jointly by the science organisations European Science Foundation, the Group on Earth Observations and the Geohazard Community of Practice, on 13 April. It said that scientific knowledge on natural hazards and disasters is not being sufficiently used by policy makers. An international strategy on disasters should be created to improve disaster preparedness time and increase research data available, the report recommended. 

According to the report, many governments are not adequately prepared for natural disasters because of their low perceived likelihood, low political sensitivity and a “disconnect” between scientists and decision-makers. “Disasters often result from the lack of process for understanding the available scientific knowledge and using it in decision-making,” the report states. Preparing for disasters is also expensive, and there is a belief that the consequence of disasters is so severe that preparedness is useless. 

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