Tsunami Prompts U.N. Official to Declare: Disaster Preparedness is Necessary

NEW YORK, Oct. 16 (UPI) — A United Nations official who recently viewed the aftermath of the destructive tsunami in the Pacific Ocean says better disaster preparedness is necessary.

Jordan Ryan, assistant administrator of the U.N. Development Program, said Thursday that officials in the tsunami-stricken region should focus on improving their disaster preparedness when repairing their damaged infrastructure, a U.N. news release said.

The Sept. 30 tsunami struck the Pacific islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga, leaving at least 150 people dead and thousands more homeless.

Ryan, who also serves as the director of the UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, said if buildings on the islands were built higher uphill during the rebuilding process, they would be at less risk during future disasters.

The U.N. official said on Samoa alone, damage from the deadly tsunami is estimated at more than $150 million. Ryan said to help rebuild the island’s economic sectors, including agriculture and tourism, substantial funding will be necessary.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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