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International Disaster Reduction Day

Today is International Day for Disaster Reduction. Concern Worldwide welcomes the official marking of this day as it highlights the importance of assessing and reducing risk in countries prone to disaster.

Pattern of vulnerability

Our disaster risk reduction team are responsible for reducing the impact of natural and climatic events on some of the world’s most vulnerable people. The Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods are two examples this year alone that demonstrate the vulnerability of the world’s poorest people to such disasters. Will Devas, Concern’s disaster risk reduction adviser, explained:

We are seeing a pattern of increased vulnerability in a range of contexts, both urban and rural. As we saw in Haiti, rising urban populations and increased population density are key contributors to massive numbers of fatalities…Very often the low quality of housing and shelter in such circumstances is a significant contributory factor to high fatality rates.

Importance of assessing risk

Taking risk factors into account can help us prepare more effectively for a disaster when and if one strikes. Will explained why this is so important:

The fact that we and our local partners had conducted assessments in Pakistan of the risks to local communities from seasonal flooding and irregular surges meant we had plans in place to help mitigate the impact of such events and reduce the numbers of people affected…

Disaster risk reduction is an unheralded and hugely important aspect of overseas development and international aid and its recognition with a dedicated day on the calendar is to be welcomed.

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