UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday underscored the importance of disaster proofing infrastructure on the occasion of World Tsunami Awareness Day.
In his message for the day, Guterres said disaster-proofing infrastructure is essential to avoid the disruption to important public services that can occur during tsunami, earthquake and extreme weather events.
However, "it is clear from the growing economic losses over the last 20 years that we have not yet fully learned the importance of disaster-proofing critical infrastructure," he said.
He pointed out "the risks remain immense," as an estimated 680 million people live in low-lying coastal zones, and by 2050, this number might surpass 1 billion.
The secretary-general encouraged governments, local authorities and the construction industry to pursue risk-informed development and invest in resilience.
In the meantime, the UN chief praised the "great improvement" in early warning systems for the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, the Northeast Atlantic, the Mediterranean and others, which have saved many lives.
In December 2015, the UN General Assembly designated Nov. 5 as World Tsunami Awareness Day to promote a global culture of tsunami awareness.
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