The International Day for Disaster Reduction is held annually on 13 October, and the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face. This day was initiated on 1989, after a call by the United Nations’ General Assembly for a day to promote a global culture of risk awareness and disaster reduction.
Disaster reduction is the conception and practice of reducing disaster risks through efficient efforts to analyse and reduce the causal factors of disasters. Reducing exposure to hazards, lessening vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improving preparedness and early warning for adverse events are all examples of disaster reduction.
Since 1992, the World Mental Health Day is observed annually on 10 October with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health. This day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide. Given past experience of emergencies, it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years.
Every year one adult in four, along with one child in ten, will have a mental health issue. These conditions can profoundly affect literally millions of lives, affecting the capability of these individuals to make it through the day, to sustain relationships, and to maintain work. Due to the health, economic, and social issues, millions of people are facing mental health issues, and many of them are experiencing even greater social isolation than before.
This year the World Habitat Day falls on 4 October. In 1985 the United Nations designated the first Monday of October to commemorate the World Habitat Day. The idea is to reflect on the state of the towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat.
An estimated 1.8 billion people were already living in slums and informal settlements, inadequate housing or in homelessness in our cities worldwide before the pandemic began. Some 3 billion people lack basic hand-washing facilities. This means millions of people worldwide are more likely to experience poor health due to the absence of basic services and exposure to multiple socio-economic and environmental hazards.
Each year, on 2 October, we celebrate the International Day of Non-Violence and the birthday of a man who helped bring forward the notion of “non-violence”. The name of Mahatma Gandhi transcends the bounds of race, religion, and nation-states. He is also remembered for his passionate adherence to the practice of nonviolence and supreme humanism.
On the International Day of Non-Violence, created by the United Nations in 2007, we look back on how Gandhi’s work and legacy has impacted global non-violent protests, marches, and vigils. This day is recognised and commemorated as a means of reaffirming the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence and the desire to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, and understanding. The COVID-19 pandemic is known for hitting the underprivileged and marginalised groups the hardest. Violence is learnt and, thus, avoidable.
The International Day of Peace is observed annually on 21 September, and is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of nonviolence and ceasefire. The United Nations’ General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
This day is celebrated by standing up against acts of hate online and offline, and by spreading compassion, kindness, and hope in the face of the pandemic, and as we recover. The COVID-19 pandemic is known for hitting the underprivileged and marginalised groups the hardest. As we heal from this pandemic, we are inspired to think creatively and collectively about a better recovery, and having our world transform into one that is more equal, just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier.