Natural disasters often take a heavier toll on poorer communities. In addition to the loss of life, an annual depletion of assets leaves them in a perpetual cycle of poverty. Now rapid climatic changes are increasing the regularity and intensity of natural disasters – and the costs to these communities. To address the increasing threat posed by climate change, a new agency, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), brings together a number of activities focused on preparing for both sudden and slow-onset disasters. AKAH works to ensure that poor people live in physical settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of natural disasters; that residents who do live in high-risk areas are able to cope with disasters in terms of preparedness and response; and that these settings provide access to social and financial services that lead to greater opportunities and a better quality of life. Initially, priority areas for AKAH will include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and India.