Disaster Risk Governance
Some people do not like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disasterElon Musk
A mere rise of just 1˚C above the global average temperature is causing havoc to the environment. The world is seeing frequent occurrences of extreme weather events like heatwaves, droughts, floods, storms, hurricanes, tsunamis, forest fires, Cloud burst, and so many. With the passing of every year, disaster is taking on a new form. Unfortunately, disasters never wait for their turn. Seeds are being sown for the self-destruction and making the only known human habitable planet into uninhabitable. Mankind started looking for far off worlds to see they can be adopted to be habitable.
WHO defines a disaster as “a sudden ecologic phenomenon of sufficient magnitude to require external assistance”. Hazard is a natural or human-made event that threatens to adversely affect human life, property. Vulnerability is the predisposition to suffer damage due to external circumstances. A disaster occurs when hazards and vulnerability meet.
The world is seeing enough of natural disasters. Adding to these are human-made disasters like pollution, armed conflicts, and war. Rapid uncontrolled urbanisation and economic disparities are making the world a difficult place to live.
Disasters affect millions of people every year worldwide. Still, their impact and loss can be reduced through pro-active measures and planning. The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is held each year on 13 October to celebrate the efforts of people and communities around the world in reducing their exposure to disasters and raise awareness. Started in 1989 by the UN to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction and being observed as “International Day for Disaster Reduction” form the year 2009 onwards.
The goal of disaster management is to reduce the possible losses from the hazard, assure prompt and appropriate assistance to victims and give rapid and durable recovery. The significant elements are disaster preparedness and planning, vulnerability and risk assessment, response, rehabilitation, and mitigation.
Adequate systematic response with national and local policies for disaster risk reduction is necessary. Political commitment, guidelines and planning alone are not enough for disaster risk management. Need is to strengthen disaster risk governance for the entire range of hazards, both natural and human-made. This year the celebration of the day is all about governance. Good disaster risk governance can be measured in the lives saved, reduction in the number of disaster-affected people, and reduced economic losses.
On-going COVID-19 pandemic is turning out to be unprecedented in the history of mankind, causing colossal loss of lives and resources. People started wondering whether the world would be the same ever? The situation arising from COVID19 pandemic is a warning that the world should not ignore.
In 2016, the UN launched “The Sendai Seven Campaign” to promote each of the seven targets over seven years. The 2020 target is “Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020”. The year 2020 is fast reaching its end, how far we have gone in realising the goal!
It is the people who matter most, and without the people, we have no disaster.
I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunityJohn D. Rockefeller