Every year, major disasters such as earthquakes, floods or hurricanes cause hundreds of deaths, injuries, and displacements, as well as the destruction of homes, infrastructure and entail great economic losses. These natural disasters multiply their devastating effect when they occur in developing countries, like Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, that left nearly a thousand dead people behind.
In 1989, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated the date October 13th as the International Day for Disaster Reduction "to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction, including prevention and mitigation." This way, the United Nations aimed to increase the awareness on natural disasters through information campaigns in order to promote efforts to increase resilience and responsiveness of communities and governments when facing these adversities.
Avoid natural disasters: combating climate change and resilience
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned since its foundation, that increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases resulting from human activity has the effect of increasing climate extremes. So the first step is to reduce emissions.
As not all states are equally prepared to deal with natural disasters, it is also necessary to strengthen their resilience, adaptation and anticipation measures to climate related risks, from conservation and restoration activities to infrastructure improvements.
Live To Tell: Raising Awareness, Reducing Mortality
This year's theme focuses its efforts on increasing the number of survivors when a natural disaster occurs. According to UN studies, women and children are up to fourteen times more likely to die in a natural disaster than men. In addition, 53% of the deaths of children under five occur in conflict situations or as a result of natural disasters. People with disabilities the elderly and indigenous communities are particularly vulnerable to them.
Sendai Seven campaign
To reduce mortality rates in natural disasters, the UN has launched Sendai Seven, a programme focused on the seven objectives of the Sendai Framework, which will last seven years (2016-2022, one goal per year):
2016: Reduce mortality caused by disasters.
2017: Reduce the number of people affected.
2018: Reduce economic losses.
2019: Reduce damage caused by disasters.
2020: Increase the number of countries with response strategies.
2021: Increase international cooperation with developing countries.
2022: Increase the implementation of early warning systems.
Do you think that humans are somehow able to prevent natural disasters? Participate with your comments.