STEP UP for INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR DISASTER RISK REDUCTION
Today, International Day for DRR, is a day to celebrate how people and communities are reducing their risk to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of DRR. The theme this year is older people and disasters.
For Save the Children older people are important duty bears in the community and often the voice of authorities. It is not only important to take into account their special needs, but also their unique position as leaders in their community and their historical knowledge and insight into the changing environment in which we live in. They can play a critical role in resilience-building through their experience and knowledge and it is important to harness this and ensure that children and the community can benefit as a whole.
In the last ten years, almost 180 million people have been affected by disasters in the ASEAN region (EMDAT). When a disaster strikes, development investments are eroded. Whilst the overall numbers of people being killed by disaster events has reduced over the past decade, alarmingly, the numbers killed by small scale disaster between 1970 and 2009 has actually increased in Lao PDR and Indonesia (ESCAP and UNISDR, 2012). In Lao PDR between 2012-13 alone, 499 schools were damaged by floods and windstorms and disasters have been reported to keep children out of school for up to 3 weeks - a direct threat to the fulfillment of every child’s right to education.
While progress is being made, the International Day for DRR encourages every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.