Every day, the world confronts the tragic consequences of human violence and lack of tolerance, yet, natural and related hazards affect as many or more people as do conflicts, according to Jan Egeland Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs for the United Nations. However, the consequences of nature’s violence often can be averted: first, because we understand these hazards, and second, because there are ways to prepare communities and individuals to deal with them, he said.

To that end, the United Nations convened a World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan, late last month. The goals of the conference included identifying good practice in disaster reduction, defining challenges and opportunities and examining emerging issues, and developing a new plan of action for disaster risk reduction for 2005-2015.

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