Thousands of lives could be saved every year if more resources were invested in protecting vulnerable communities from disasters before they occur, claims a new report from relief agency Tearfund.
The report, Before Disaster Strikes, says it is "indefensible and illogical" that western governments concentrate their efforts on emergency responses to crises in the developing world rather than measures to prevent them.
In developed countries, millions of dollars are invested to reduce risks associated with floods, droughts and earthquakes, but the same precautionary investment does not take place in developing countries.
Examples of preventative measures include building cyclone and early warning systems.
The report says that natural disasters are increasing due to issues such as global warming, rapid urbanisation and environmental destruction.
Some 98 per cent of disaster deaths occur in the developing world.