A United Nations report has highlighted that while fewer people are losing their lives due to natural disasters in Vietnam , floods, storms and other disasters are still wreaking havoc and causing huge economic losses.

Vietnam has therefore been urged to ensure thorough disaster risk assessments in decision making on investments in the public and private sectors.

Jerry Velasquez, senior regional co-ordinator of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction was speaking at a conference to launch the 2013 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR13) in Hanoi on May 30.

The regional expert said a large portion of the losses were in the private sector, both in direct and indirect ways.

The report, Creating Shared Value: the Business Case for Disaster Risk Reduction, shows that direct losses from floods, earthquakes and drought have been under-estimated by at least 50 percent.

It warns the world's business community that economic losses linked to disasters are "out of control" and will continue to escalate unless disaster risk management becomes a core part of business investment strategies.

UNDP Deputy Country Director in Vietnam , Bakhodir Burkhanov, said: "Investment decisions are not always made with sufficient attention to hazard exposure. Governments are working on effective disaster response and preparedness strategies, and businesses can do more to anticipate risks and to disclose them to regulators and investors."

Burkhanov called for wider ownership of disaster risk management in Vietnam across public and private sector stakeholders following the principles of shared risks and shared values.

Speaking at the conference, Nguyen Xuan Dieu, Deputy Director of the General Directorate for Water Resources of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said the latest 5-year review of disaster risk reduction work shows that fatalities and injuries reduced by 8 per cent compared to that of the previous 5-year period but economic losses tended to increase. This is partly due to insufficient attention of businesses to disaster risk reduction work.

The report, with the designation GAR13, is the third biennial report coordinated by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The report is built on the reviews of national disaster loss data bases in 40 countries, survey responses from 1,300 SMEs in disaster-prone locations in the Americas, and a review of risk management in 14 major corporations.-VNA