Governments of 100 countries still lacking disaster early warning systems have a duty to invest in the projects, which could save lives and property, and reap longer-term economic benefits, the U.N.'s meteorological agency said.

With vulnerable countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands among those still without early warning systems, the WMO said better disaster preparedness could help governments improve farm outputs, boost safety in sectors such as shipping and transport, and protect people.

"The money that we invest in the met (meteorological) service, you get it back tenfold in terms of economic benefits," World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in the Mexican resort of Cancun at the end of a two-day conference on early warning systems.