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SG/SM/20617
10 March 2021

Secretary-General’s Video Message on Tenth Anniversary of Great East Japan Earthquake Says Early Planning, Prioritizing Vulnerable People Key for Managing Disaster Risk

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message on the tenth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, observed on 11 March:

Today is a solemn day of remembrance for the 18,400 people who died or are still missing as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 10 years ago.

My condolences go to those who continue to grieve the loss of loved ones.  And I think of those who remain displaced, unable to return to their homes because of safety concerns surrounding the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.  In that respect, I welcome the reassuring findings of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.

Japan is leading the world when it comes to disaster prevention.  The country has invested heavily in building back safer over the last 10 years.  And it has helped to share the lessons learned for the future.  The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted six years ago, is a global blueprint for a safer world.

To prevent and manage disasters, countries need to plan, invest, give early warnings and provide education on what to do.  And they must prioritize the most vulnerable, such as the elderly and disabled.  To manage the many risks that face us today — from earthquakes to biological hazards, from pandemics to extreme weather events — we must be inclusive, so nobody is left behind when disaster strikes.

For information media. Not an official record.