Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean
Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Newsletter for Latin America and the Caribbean Inssue No. 15, 1999
1999, the Campaign focused on assessing the concrete results and achievements
of disaster reduction in the 1990s, and on promoting a global culture
of prevention for the 21st Century. The past few decades have brought
with them considerable losses due to natural disasters. They have claimed
the lives of 50,000 people as a result of catastrophic floods in Asia, mortal
hurricanes in the Americas, and the grievous consequences of El Niño
and La Niña in several continents. According to Munich Reinsurance,
economic losses surpass $90,000 million. The most frequent disasters were
storms and floods, causing 85% of total economic losses. However, during
the past 10 years considerable progress has been made in disaster prevention
On 13 October 1999, the global event for World Disaster Reduction Day was held in Mexico City. Activities were organized jointly by the UN International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) and the Government of Mexico. The subject of the Campaign was Disaster Pays: Science and Technology Applied to Disaster Reduction Save Lives and Preserve Material Goods. Some 100 countries organized activities to commemorate the day.
During the event in Mexico, the UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Prevention was presented, followed by a round table on experiences in disaster prevention around the world. Renowned experts discussed seismic risk reduction.
The ceremony was inaugurated by the Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rosario Green, who spoke about future challenges in disaster reduction in an increasingly vulnerable world. Coincidentally, severe floods were at the time hitting Mexico and Central America, highlighting the relevance of the topic.
The 1999 World Disaster
Reduction Day also coincided with the IDNDR International Symposium on
the RADIUS Initiative Towards Earthquake Safe Cities, which was
held in Tijuana, Mexico, 11-14 October. Tijuana is one of the case-study
cities under the RADIUS Initiative.
Campaign Topics During the Decade
1993 Disaster prevention in schools and hospitals its also your business. In our region, the campaign was linked to PAHO and OAS programmes. Experts in education and safe schools, health care and health facilities, and media representatives met in Tlaxcala, Mexico to work out the campaign strategy.
1994 Vulnerable communities disaster prevention. The campaign was linked to the Social Development Summit that the UN held in Copenhagen that year. Emphasis was placed on the need for communities to play an active role in vulnerability and risk reduction.
1995 Women and children active participants in disaster prevention. The campaign was linked to the World Womens Conference, which was held in Beijing.
1996 Cities at risk. The campaign was linked to the Second Habitat Conference, held in Istanbul. Efforts were coordinated with regional and international municipal federations.
1997 Too much water too little the leading cause of natural disasters. The campaign focused on the overwhelming impact of drought and floods. It coincided with the start of a strong ENSO.
1998 Prevention begins with information. While all campaigns have obviously focused on the role of the media and public information, this year emphasis was placed on the need to work jointly with media personnel. A regional workshop was held in Quito, Ecuador, to produce a Guide For Social Communication And Disaster Prevention.
1999 Prevention pays: technology to save lives and assets. The final campaign of the Decade focused on positive experiences, showing that investing in prevention really pays off.