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World urged to plan for disasters

The world should expect to have to cope with three to five big urban disasters in the next 10 years, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has warned.

It said preparation for these disasters was needed now and revealed the catastrophes aid workers feared most were earthquakes affecting Tehran in Iran, Istanbul in Turkey or Kathmandu in Nepal.

The report was commissioned following the devastation caused by the Haiti earthquake last year which killed more than 300,000 people.

Working closely with local traders, businesses, communities and government following such disasters was particularly important, the report said.

It also suggested prioritising support for permanent resettlement in existing neighbourhoods, rather than focusing on working in temporary camps.

The DEC said the report's conclusion, which suggested greater emphasis should be placed on long-term ways of working, presented tough choices for aid workers.

These could involve withdrawing free aid to temporary camps in order to work with local businesses to provide services that would speed up the safe return of survivors to their neighbourhoods.

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