We cannot stop natural disasters but we can arm ourselves with knowledge: so many lives wouldn't have to be lost if there was enough disaster preparedness. -Petra Nemcova
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.
The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for Natural Reduction is annually observed on the 13th of October to raise the profile of disaster risk reduction. It is a day dedicated to the efforts of the stakeholders in reducing the disasters related risks through raising awareness. It also encourages people and governments to participate in building more resilient communities and nations.
Many people around the world have lost their lives, homes, access to essential facilities, such as hospitals, due to natural disasters, including earthquakes, droughts, tsunamis, heavy flooding, hurricanes or cyclones. Some of these disasters have even caused economic damage to certain countries. In past decade, many people have lost their beloved ones as the consequences of the Mother Nature’s rages.
Though the occurrence of natural disaster is unstoppable, the impact of damages could be minimized through appropriate movement of disaster reduction and preparedness. In line with that, the UN acknowledges that education; training and information exchanges are effective ways to help people to equip themselves better in withstanding the natural disasters.
This year spotlight of the International Day for Disaster Reduction is on older people, including their needs and what they contribute in better planning and understanding the disaster risk in their communities. International Day for Disaster 2014 intends to amplify this critical issue, not only for current days but also the post-2015 framework pertaining to disaster risk reduction.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), believe that there is a call for awareness among the societies on how to guide and care for old people both during and after the occurrence of the natural disaster. Being young and energetic, youth can play a big role during this time to assist those in need through volunteerism activity. Therefore, we advise and encourage young people to be on the vanguard in giving a helping hand to the old. By doing so, young volunteers will have an opportunity to work together with the senior citizens to minimize the vulnerability of all, while improving communities’ capacity to cope with the impact of disasters and sustaining intergenerational relationship.
Happy International day for Disaster Reduction!