13 Oct 2015

Disaster Risk Reduction Day marked in Pacific

5:04 pm on 13 October 2015

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction says Pacific islands can use traditional knowledge to improve their disaster resilience.

Today is International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction and the UNISDR Pacific head Timothy Wilcox says it holds particular importance for the region.

Mr Wilcox says with climate change, more severe storms, floods and droughts, the Pacific needs to prioritise its disaster resilience.

He says the people of the Pacific have survived through centuries of disasters and it is that experience and knowledge that they need to draw upon.

"The idea is that if we are resilient to the natural hazards that we are being affected by, then technically we can actually stop the disasters from happening because the community is strong enough to absorb the shocks and the impacts of the hazard itself thus meaning that technically a disaster might not even have to be declared."

Mr Wilcox says the region is progressing well but an area of concern is private sector planning with up to 20% of small businesses not reopening after disasters.