International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

The last couple of years are a clear example of how fragile is human life compared to the disruptive force of nature that constantly tests our resistance and resilience.

Even though we might fall for the illusion that this unbearable situation is going to end soon and our lives will get back to normal, we should start to consider the fact that some of the events that harmed us during this couple of years, such as wildfires, floods, earthquakes, humanitarian crisis, are still going to be part of our existence.

In the scientific community, it is almost taken for granted that global warming has been largely driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases, only a minority of climate scientists state that other factors are to blame or openly disagree with the whole concept of climate change and refuse to accept the fact that since the start of industrial revolution average global temperatures have risen by roughly 1°C and are not going to decrease or stop increasing anytime soon.

Even though climate change is an overly discussed topic, it is not taken enough into account the wide impact that this phenomenon has on various aspects of our nowadays life and therefore on contemporary chronicle: to give an idea of how climate change is affecting our stay on this planet, as many as 70,000 people died in the 2003 European heat wave and for the same reason more than 50,000 died in 2010 in Russia; the rising sea levels that will submerge by 2100 the land in which 470 to 760 million people are living and droughts, floods, and storms are going to put half of the world’s population living in water-stressed areas as early as 2025.

If we do not work simultaneously and cooperate on a global level, in the next ten years, extreme weather events will be overwhelming, especially for developing countries. There is a huge disproportion on how disasters impact low- and middle-income countries compared with richer ones, especially in terms of mortality, numbers of people injured, displaced, and homeless, economic losses, and damage to critical infrastructure. It is extremely important to invest in disaster risk reduction if we aim to eradicate poverty and hunger. Over the years, international cooperation for developing countries has been made through Official Development Aid.

In 1989, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) decided to establish a day to encourage a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction and to name it “International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction”. In 2009, the UNGA officially designated 13 October as the date to commemorate the Day.

This day is meant to be an opportunity to acknowledge the journey toward reducing disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods, and health.

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