10 Apr 2012

Red Cross head warns of natural disaster threat

1:00 pm on 10 April 2012

The head of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is in New Zealand with a warning to prepare for future disasters.

Last year, the Asia Pacific region experienced 136 natural disasters, a third of the natural disasters that occurred during the year

They included the Christchurch earthquakes, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and major floods in Australia and South-East Asia.

Bekele Geleta is meeting Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Civil Defence officials in Wellington on Tuesday to discuss the need to improve systems for early warning of disasters and better ways to prepare for them.

Mr Geleta said climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of some natural disasters, and said this was a major threat to development in the Pacific.