Greater global protection needed against predictable disasters says UN agency

The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) today called on governments to better protect people against more “predictable” natural hazards, especially flooding, to reduce the risk and vulnerability of local populations. After a week in which floods have brought death and destruction to the Caribbean region and to Mexico, the Director of the UN secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, Salvano Briceño, said the world needed to find better ways to reduce the impact of these recurrent disasters. “There are many inexpensive measures that can be systematically adopted in disaster-prone countries to reduce the impact of hazards,” he said in a statement issued in Geneva, the headquarters of ISDR. “Risk assessments, early warning systems, evacuation plans, education and land use planning are a few of the many cost effective and reliable non-structural ways to avoid floods becoming disasters,” he said, pointing out that many measures are within the financial means of most communities. Floods this year have already caused four times as much devastation as last year, affecting 140 million people. This week alone Tropical Storm Noël has killed at least 100 people across the Caribbean region while heavy rains have brought widespread inundations to Tabasco state in Mexico. ISDR has stressed that floods are among the most predictable, expected and announced natural hazards, and noted that the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report predicted that more frequent and intense tropical cyclones and hurricanes will occur because of climate change, bringing more flooding with them. Around the world poor people are often most at risk because they do not have the means to adapt their living conditions either before or after floods, and have to live in high-risk areas such as floodplains, ravines and slopes, which are more prone to floods and landslides. 2 November 2007The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) today called on governments to better protect people against more “predictable” natural hazards, especially flooding, to reduce the risk and vulnerability of local populations. read more

Labour leader Corbyn branded a chicken as he rejects UK election to

ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) greets Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside 10 Downing Street in central London on September 5, 2019. Labour last night blocked Boris Johnson’s plans for a snap general election as the Prime Minister accused Jeremy Corbyn of being “chicken”.The Labour leader was branded a hypocrite after he ordered his MPs not to back Johnson’s proposal of going to the polls on Oct 15, despite Corbyn’s non-stop demands for an election ever since he lost in 2017.On another day of high drama in the Commons, the Prime Minister suggested his opposite number was “frit” because he feared a heavy defeat if and when the country had its say.Johnson said: “He has demanded an election for two years by blocking Brexit. He said two days ago he would support an election. Is he now going to say that the public cannot be allowed an election to decide which of us sorts out this mess?”Corbyn insisted he would only back an election once Parliament had passed into law a Bill to block a no-deal Brexit on Oct 31, which passed through the Commons by 327 votes to 299 – helped by 21 Tory rebels – and now moves to the House of Lords.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Peers were expected to sit through the night as Conservative lords plotted to filibuster the Bill to prevent it passing before Parliament is prorogued.The offer of the election day is a bit like the offer of an apple to Snow White because what he is offering is the poison of no dealJohnson was expected to suffer a third defeat in two days as MPs voted late last night on his call for an early election. Labour’s refusal to agree to it meant that the Prime Minister would be unable to win the two-thirds majority of MPs required to approve it.Corbyn said he was looking forward to “turfing out” the Government but added: “The offer of the election day is a bit like the offer of an apple to Snow White because what he is offering is the poison of no deal.”The Prime Minister is now expected to table another vote on a general election on Monday, but Labour is plotting to “destroy” him by forcing a Brexit extension beyond Oct 31 and delaying an election until November.Senior Labour figures including Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, favour keeping Johnson in Downing Street until Oct 19, when the Bill, if it becomes law, would force him to ask the EU for an extension to Article 50 if he has failed to strike a new Brexit deal that is agreed by Parliament. With Johnson’s options narrowing by the day, he repeated once again that there were “no circumstances” in which he would ask for an extension. No 10 insisted he would not resign but would “find a way” to fulfil his promise of leaving the EU on Oct 31.However, for the first time he raised the prospect that he could soon be out of office, saying: “If I am still Prime Minister on Tuesday, October 15, then we will leave on Oct 31 with, I hope, a much better deal.”Last night he received a vote of confidence from Donald Trump, who said he “knows how to win”. Speaking from the Oval Office, Trump said: “Well, Boris is a friend of mine and he’s going at it. There’s no question about it. He’s in there. I watched him this morning. He’s in there fighting and he knows how to win. Boris knows how to win.”In a bizarre twist last night, an amendment to the Labour Bill, which would give MPs a chance to vote on the most recent version of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, was passed by the Commons “by accident” because of a procedural irregularity. May’s final deal with the EU – the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – was never put to a vote because she was ousted as Tory leader before she had a chance to seek the approval of MPs.Stephen Kinnock, the Labour MP who tabled it, suggested May’s deal could now be passed as it represented the only current alternative to a no-deal exit. He said: “I think many of us wish a crystal ball had been handed out when we first came to this place.”During his first Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, Johnson called on Corbyn to “confirm now that he will allow the people of this country to decide on what he is giving up in their name with a general election on October 15 – or is he frit?”He added: “I know he’s worried about free trade deals with America but there’s only one chlorinated chicken that I can see in this House and he’s on that bench.”Away from the Commons, Labour was locked in an internal power struggle last night as its MPs continued to squabble over when and how an election should happen. Andrew Coyne: Boris Johnson’s defeat is a victory for the power of Parliament Prospect of no-deal Brexit is damaging business confidence, says CBI business lobby British PM Johnson’s own brother resigns on eve of Brexit election campaign Corbyn’s spokesman confirmed that one option being considered was toppling Johnson in a confidence vote next week before installing Corbyn in Downing Street, delaying Brexit and calling an election in November. Labour backbenchers “overwhelmingly” told Corbyn at a meeting yesterday that they favoured an election after Oct 31, according to Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for Ilford North.Corbyn’s spokesman confirmed yesterday that Labour’s next election manifesto would pledge a second referendum with Remain as one of the choices along with a Labour Brexit deal.A Government source accused Corbyn of “rank hypocrisy” for blocking an election after he had repeatedly claimed it was the only way democratic way forward.Johnson, who is due in Dublin for talks with the Irish premier Leo Varadkar on Monday, last night gave his MPs fresh details of his alternative to the Northern Irish backstop.He said part of the solution could include an all-Ireland zone for food standards, in the same way that Ireland was currently treated as a single entity for livestock, which is checked on entry to Northern Ireland from Britain. The DUP, whose consent would be needed for such a move, said it would be “willing to look at” the suggestion.With the Benn-Bill passing over to the Lords, Tory peers hope they will be able to hold up its passage and prevent it becoming law by tabling more than 100 amendments. However, opposition peers were threatening to sit through the weekend to thwart the plan.If the filibustering were successful, it would raise the possibility that an election would not be needed, as Johnson would be able to press ahead with his Brexit plans unhindered. read more