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Economic loss &Disasters: International day for Disaster reduction

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By : Samananda Keisham

Disaster management is the systematic observation and analysis of disaster to improve measures related to prevention, mitigation, preparedness, emergency response and recovery. It comprises of technical, administrative, financial, social and legal options related to various disasters.It is necessary because disaster is a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society. They involve widespread human, material, economic or environmental impacts, which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.
The objective of disaster management plan is to strengthen the capacity of agencies involved in warning and alarm, rescue and evacuation operation, transport and communication, resettlement and provisions for medical aids. Medium and long-term interventions should be based on the 5R strategy of Rescue, Relief, Restoration, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction. The four objectives of National Disaster Management are as follows-
1) Reduce and avoid physical and economic loss.
2) Reduce personal sufferings by removing the affected persons to a safer place and provide them with relief materials such as food, shelter, medicines etc.
3) Quicken the recovery process.
4) Provide emergency support.
The four elements of disaster management which can be implemented at community, regional, state and national level are:
1) Mitigation
2) Preparedness
3) Response and
4) Recovery
Mitigation involves reducing or eliminating the likelihood or consequences of a hazard or both. Mitigation seeks to treat the hazard such that it impacts the society to a lesser degree. It is not possible to avoid the hazards of a natural disaster altogether, but by adopting a mitigation plan, the effect can be reduced. For example, using vulnerability atlas for the planning of appropriate disaster reduction measures by mapping disaster prone area, implementing strategies for creating awareness, education and training at various level and implementing various codes for earthquake, cyclone and flood resistant buildings and infrastructures.
Preparedness involves equipping the people who may be impacted by a disaster or who is able to help those impacted with the tools to increase their chance of survival and to minimize their financial and other losses. The objective of preparedness is to prepare a contingency plan including institutional arrangement, rescue and relief operation and an action program. Some key aspects of preparation include selection of risk prone area, entry into prone area, mobilizing volunteers for assessment and preparation of team work, disseminating warning, stocking of essential commodities, medicines, drinking water and shelters.
Response involves taking actions to reduce or eliminate the impact of disasters that have occurred or are currently occurring in order to prevent further suffering, financial loss or a combination of both. Emergency response aimed at saving human lives by providing relief.
Recovery involves returning victims live back to a normal state following the impact of disaster consequences. The recovery phase generally begins after the immediate response has ended and can go on for a month, years after the disaster. The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction defines recovery as the “decisions and action taken after disaster with a view to restore or improve the pre-disaster living conditions of the stricken community, while encouraging and facilitating necessary adjustments to reduce disaster risk.The recovery phase of disaster can be broken into two periods; short-term phase typically lasts from six months to at least one year and involves delivering immediate services to businesses and the long-term phaseranges up to decades which requires thoughtful strategic planning and action to address more serious or permanent impacts of a disaster. Investment in economic development capacity building becomes essential to implement effective recovery strategies. Communities must access and deploy a range of public and private resources to enable long-term economic recovery.
The theme of the International Day for Disaster Reduction in 2018 is Reducing the Economic Loss of Disasters which is Target (C) of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.The Venue is at United Nations University, Rose Hall, Tokyo, Japan.
This is the third year of the Sendai Seven Campaign, which uses International Day for Disaster Reduction to draw attention to the seven targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which was adopted as a global plan to reduce disaster losses by UN Member States. The overall theme of the International Day for Disaster Reduction in 2018 is reducing the economic loss of disasters which is Target (3) of the Sendai Framework which also will discuss the Sustainable Development Goals. Economic losses from disasters are a serious brake on sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.It also conveys the message that disasters have a human cost and reducing economic losses from disasters can transform lives.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action. It was endorsed by the UN General Assemblyfollowing the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. The Sendai Framework is a 15-year, voluntary, non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders. It aims atthe substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.
There are many countries which are struggling to cope with recurring losses, particularly those who are bearing the brunt of climate change and experiencing extreme weather events which destroy critical infrastructure, disrupt agriculture and lead to displacement and migration, and loss of livelihoods. This is a critical issue when enormous sums are expected to flow into urban development in the coming decades. Some 60% of the area expected to be urbanized by 2030 remains to be built.
It is crucial to ensure risk-sensitive development and reduce economic losses from disasters. For brainstorming these critical subjects, the symposium will have two key note presentations and three short presentations which are followed by the panel discussion composed of the multi-stakeholders, including local government, civil society, private sector etc.The soaring rise in the economic losses from extreme weather events are fueled by climate change. Economic losses from disasters in low and middle-income countries are undermining efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and deprive governments of funds to spend on health, education, social protection and other important public needs. Every year disasters cost the global economy an estimated US$520 billion, displacing millions of people and pushing many of them into poverty. Reducing economic losses from disasters has the power to transform lives and this will be the focus of this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction focusing on the economic losses resulting from extreme weather events and other hazards, will help to bring home to policymakers and those in charge of major investments in critical infrastructure, the importance of ensuring that those investment decisions are risk-informed. If it’s not informed, it’s not sustainable. And if it’s not sustainable then it has a human cost. Those costs are evident in the chronic level of disaster displacement around the world. Last year an estimated 18 million people were displaced by extreme weather events.
The Seven Global Targets
2016 – Target (a): Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower the average per 100,000 global mortality rates in the decade 2020- 2030 compared to the period 2005-2015;
2017 – Target (b): Substantially reduce the number of people affected globally by 2030, aiming to lower the average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020- 2030 compared to the period 2005-2015;
2018 – Target (c): Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030;
2019 – Target (d): Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030;
2020 – Target (e): Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020;
2021 – Target (f): Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of the present Framework by 2030;
2022 – Target (g): Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030.
The Four Priorities for Action
Priority 1. Understanding disaster risk: Disaster risk management should be based on an understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions of vulnerability, capacity, exposure of persons and assets, hazard characteristics and the environment. Such knowledge can be used for risk assessment, prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response.
Priority 2. Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk: Disaster risk governance at the national, regional and global levels is very important for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and rehabilitation. It fosters collaboration and partnership.
Priority 3. Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience: Public and private investment in disaster risk prevention and reduction through structural and non-structural measures are essential to enhance the economic, social, health and cultural resilience of persons, communities, countries and their assets, as well as the environment.
Priority 4. Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction: The growth of disaster risk means there is a need to strengthen disaster preparedness for response, take actions in anticipation of events, and ensure capacities are in place for effective response and recovery at all levels. The recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction phase which is a critical opportunity to build back better, including through integrating disaster risk reduction into development measures.

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