Natural disasters such as droughts, floods, earthquakes and bad storms cost the world up to 300 billion dollars in economic loss each year, according to a UN report released Wednesday.
"The economic losses from disasters are now reaching an average of 250 billion dollars to 300 billion dollars each year," the report prepared by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction said.
That risk could be reduced if the world invests 6 billion dollars annually in disaster risk management strategies.
"The report is a wake-up call for countries to increase their commitment to invest in smart solutions to strengthen resilience to disasters," Margareta Wahlstrom, the UN special representative on disaster risk reduction, told reporters.
"We have to act," UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said during the launch of the report in New York. "Disaster risk reduction saves lives and cuts losses." The release of the report came two weeks ahead of the UN's third world conference on disaster risk reduction in Sendai, Japan, from March 14-18.
During the conference, representative of member states and the UN are expected to chart a global course on disaster risk reduction for the coming decade.