UN proposes $10 billion disaster fund

A United Nations report on world economic insecurity has proposed a US$10 billion global fund to help developing countries cope with natural disasters that are occurring with greater frequency and ferocity. More than four timeAs as many disasters occurred annually between 2000 and 2006 than during the 1970s, Reuters cited the report as saying.

Existing responses to floods and earthquakes should be boosted with a permanent facility, possibly under UN auspices, the report said.
The fund should reimburse disaster-hit countries for one-quarter of the damage caused, the report said. To provide the money, countries would be assessed according to their means, and poor countries would not have to contribute, it said.

In a separate report, a Chinese provincial official was quoted as saying direct economic losses caused by the May 12 earthquake in southwest China have already exceeded 1 trillion yuan (US$146 billion).

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