UN head for disaster risk reduction calls for gender-equal alert system

The head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction has stressed the importance of setting up an alert system that gives everyone access to information. He said more women suffer tragedies than men in natural disasters because they fail to receive early warnings.

Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Kamal Kishore spoke with NHK in an interview in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Kishore said the "changing climate is amplifying disasters," impacting not just people's lives and livelihoods, but also entire cultures as communities are forced to migrate.

Kishore noted that women are suffering more than men in countries where women's participation in society is lagging behind. He said, for example, if women are taking care of households while men are out working in the fields, they may be the last to hear of an approaching typhoon.

He said it is important that women and the elderly contribute their ideas when setting up a disaster prevention system.

Kishore said, "there's a lot to learn from Japan". He said the country has been a leader, sharing its experience "with the world very generously and very openly. And that is really making a big difference to the world."

Kishore is scheduled to visit areas hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and the New Year's Day earthquake in central Japan.