When disasters strike, they have devastating effects on people's lives, and on the economy. The latest data show that in 2017, 335 disasters affected over 95.6 million people, and cost a total of US 335 billion. The impact is even worse for those living in remote and isolated areas with no access to basic information and communication facilities. Emergency telecommunications play a critical role in disaster risk reduction and management. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are critical to deliver early warnings and in the immediate aftermath of disasters by ensuring timely flow of vital information.
ITU plays an important role in emphasizing the critical role of ICTs in disaster risk reduction and management, and it supports its Member States before, during and after disasters strike. ITU's Strategic Plan recognizes the importance of information and communication technologies for disaster risk reduction and management and includes Target 3.5: "By 2023 all countries should have a National Emergency Telecommunication Plan as part of their national and local disaster risk reduction strategies".
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has helped raise awareness of the importance of disaster risk reduction and management. Of the 17 goals for sustainable development established by the United Nations (UN), Goals 1, 2, 11 and 13 make reference to the need of nations and communities to address the challenges of disasters.