International Day for Disaster Reduction is observed every year on October 13. Effective tackling of natural disasters has much to do with governance. One can measure good disaster-risk power in lives saved, reduced numbers of disaster-affected people, and reduced economic losses. Along with the usual risk factors, the climate emergency indicates that we need a clear vision, plan, and competently empowered governance that takes action based on scientific evidence for the benefit of the public. It’s time for governments and people to take responsibility if we want to leave a stable planet for future generations.
History of International Day for Disaster Reduction
The International Day for Disaster Reduction was started in 1989. The decision was made after the United Nations General Assembly called for a day dedicated to building a global culture of risk awareness and disaster reduction. The International Day for Disaster Reduction acknowledges how people and communities worldwide are coming together to reduce exposure to disasters and raise awareness about the importance of timely action.
In 2015, at the Third U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (held in Sendai, Japan), the international community discussed how disasters hit hardest at the local level. This increases the risk of death along with significant social and economic upheaval. Disasters that strike without caution displace millions of people every year. In addition, climate change makes some disasters worse, which often reverses sustainable development and disturbs the local ecosystem.
Keeping these risk factors in mind, it was decided that disaster relief plans must be made from the ground up. Therefore, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is people-focused and action-oriented in its approach. The framework focuses on disaster risk reduction and offers solutions to the risk of small-scale and large-scale disasters caused by artificial or natural hazards. It also looks at the related environmental, technological, and biological hazards and risks. The success of good planning is ensuring that the multi-sectoral disaster reduction framework links policies in areas such as land use, building codes, public health, education, agriculture, environmental protection, energy, water resources, poverty reduction, and climate change adaptation.
Timeline of International Day for Disaster Reduction
First Risk Management
Evidence shows the first risk management efforts are made in 3200 B.C.
First Indian Relief Project
British and Indian governments come together for the relief efforts of the 1740 famines.
Modern Disaster Management
A current disaster management framework emerges.
U.N. Adopts Disaster Management
The United Nations International Strategy For Disaster Reduction was formed.
How to Observe International Day for Disaster Reduction
- Learn about your community’s plans
- Most local communities have a plan in place. Find out how your local community plans to fight disasters.
- Check the relief management measures at your home
- Start at your home. Check if emergency exits, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and others are in place and functioning. Inspections like these can prove helpful when the need arises.
- Write to your local government
- Not sure what the disaster reduction framework in your community is? Write to your local government and ask them about it. You could even ask for a brief demo of the disaster management plan.
5 Important Facts About International Day for Disaster Reduction
- The climate crisis is here
- Since 2011, there have been 154 floods, 16 droughts, and 15 cases of extreme temperature.
- Floods are the most common natural disaster
- Floods are the most widespread natural disaster, aside from wildfires.
- Older persons are the worst affected
- Over half the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Sandy were older people over 65.
- Natural disasters can spell financial trouble
- Hurricane Harvey resulted in an estimated $125 billion in damages.
- People are inadequately prepared
- About 80% of people do not have a home evacuation drill; 60% are unaware of their town’s evacuation routes.
Why International Day For Disaster Reduction is Important
- It saves lives
- International Day for Disaster Reduction was started to save as many lives as possible. It’s a noble celebration that aims to make everyone’s lives easier.
- Future generations benefit from it
- A functioning natural disaster reduction plan helps future generations. It ensures that fewer lives are lost, and economic losses are minimal.
- It tackles a host of problems
- International Day for Disaster Reduction not only reduces the risks of immediate disasters that may strike but also prepares for related biological, climate, and technological disasters.