Governments and businesses are still investing far too little to protect poor communities at rising risk from wild weather and other threats, the heads of the U.N. disaster prevention agency and the Red Cross said Tuesday.

Countries are having to dig deep to bail out crisis-hit communities — as happened after Cyclone Idai killed hundreds and razed central areas of Mozambique's coast in mid-March, leaving large swaths of land flooded and property destroyed.

But lives could be saved and aid bills slashed by spending more upfront to avert the worst damage, as happened when India faced Cyclone Fani this month, the senior officials said ahead of an international conference on tackling disasters in Geneva this week.