Maldives Environment Minister Addresses Sendai in Wake of Cyclone Pam

Against the backdrop of the death and destruction Cyclone Pam caused in AOSIS member state, Vanuatu, the Maldives Environment Minister, Thoriq Ibrahim, addressed the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States.

The main issue being discussed at the talks–the  formulation of global strategies on disaster risk reduction–has attained new urgency in light of the record-breaking cyclone that packed 185 mph winds and tore through the Pacific island nation, killing at least 8 people and destroying up to 90 percent of the country’s housing stock.

As Ibrahim said, “As Disasters violently undermine our progress towards sustainable development. They pose a particular threat to small islands developing states. Our small size, geographic isolation, narrow resource base, and exposure to global environmental challenges and external shocks makes it challenging to prepare for disasters before they strike and exceptionally difficult to recover in their aftermath.”

Scientists have warned that warming ocean waters due to climate change will strengthen storms across the tropics and that the Pacific region is particularly at risk.

The World Meteorological Organization noted that over the last five years, 90% of disasters have been caused or aggravated by weather and water, the impacts of which could have been significantly ameliorated through better early warning systems (EWS), which generate a very high return on public investment.

See full address here: