Each time disaster strikes, nature is often blamed. Rarely do we think about human actions that increase risk and turn danger into catastrophe.
Vulnerability to disaster is growing faster than resilience. Over the past year, we have seen devastating floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and droughts.
Nuclear safety and the threat of multiple technological hazards add even greater urgency.
The good news is that some countries have shown how to reduce risk from floods and cyclones. Investments in early warning and other measures are paying dividends.
Yet the economic burden of technological disasters continues to grow. Making the case for investment in risk reduction can be an uphill struggle. Yet much can be gained from spending wisely rather than spending more.
This year's observance of the International Day for Disaster Reduction recognizes the vital role of children and young people.
In Nepal and elsewhere, schoolchildren are taught the basics of home and building safety.
Risk reduction and climate change adaptation activities involving children in Cuba are now being emulated in other parts of the world.
Most recently, more than 600 African, Asian and Latin American young boys and girls developed a Children's Charter to reduce disaster risk.
The message is clear: Disaster risk reduction should be an everyday concern for everybody.
Let us all invest today for a safer tomorrow.