Communities will always face natural hazards, but todayís disasters are often
generated by, or at least exacerbated by, human activities. At the most
dramatic level, human activities are changing the natural balance of the earth,
interfering as never before with the atmosphere, the oceans, the polar ice caps,
the forest cover and the natural pillars that make our world a livable home.
But we are also putting ourselves in harmís way in less visible ways. At no
time in human history have so many people lived in cities clustered around
seismically active areas. Destitution and demographic pressure have led more
people than ever before to live in flood plains or in areas prone to landslides.
Poor land-use planning; environmental mismanagement; and a lack of
regulatory mechanisms both increase the risk and exacerbate the effects of
Former UN Secretary General