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, killing an additional 9 697 and costing a total of US 335 billion. Compared to the previous decade (2007-2016) there were fewer disasters cused by natural hazards, less deaths and total people affected in 2017, but higher economic losses. 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.
ITU's strategic framework (Strategic Plan for 2020-2023) includes a number of specific goals and targets aimed at achieving its implementation. It's Goal 3 on Sustainability recognizes the importance of information and communication technologies for disaster risk reduction and managment and includes Target 3.5 which is: "by 2023 all countries should have a National Emergency Telecommunication Plan as part of their national and local disaster risk reduction strategies".
This recognition will support ITU's role in facilitating the progress towards the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has also 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.
ICTs are critical to deliver early warnings and in the immediate aftermath of disasters by ensuring timely flow of vital information.