Roseau, Dominica, October 13, 2011, (Office of Disaster Management) - By resolution 64/200 dated dec 21, 2009 the United Nations General Assembly designated October 13th (every year) as the date to commemorate “International Day For Disaster Reduction”. This particular resolution superseded resolution 44/236 which recognized the second Wednesday in October as “International Day For Natural Disaster Reduction”.
The change in the resolution requires states to bring into sharper focus and to give more significance to disaster risk reduction as a strategy that will inform sustainable development especially in small and vulnerable developing states like ours.
This year’s campaign is to “Step Up Disaster Risk Reduction”, while the theme is “Making Children And Young People Partners For Disaster Risk Reduction”.
It is instructive to note that approximately 66.5 million children are affected annually by disasters caused by man-made and natural events/hazards. Children and young people find it difficult to cope with unexpected and painful interruptions and trauma in their lives. Dominica has had numerous events during the recent past with many of the victims being children.
Given our geographical position and landscape coupled with the issues of climate change there is every reason to expect that the island, like the other islands in the region and by extension the world, will continue to be vulnerable to natural and manmade events. According to the UN General Secretary in an address to mark this day “vulnerability to disaster is growing faster than resilience”
The general secretary’s statement insists that building resilience is where the focus needs to be. The issues of climate change and global warning together with natural events such as hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes and man-made hazards adds to our vulnerability.
The issue then becomes, how as a people do we build such resilience against such events?
We therefore adopt the precept of disaster risk reduction. We must mainstream in our everyday lifestyle, in our corperate and national development processes a culture of disaster risk reduction. The Office of Disaster Management continues to focus on the disaster management cycle which includes planning, preparing, mitigating, geared at reducing our vulnerability and risk. The citizenry including the children and young people are therefore encouraged to participate in the processes of disaster risk reduction management and decision making undertaken by the office of disaster management and other associate organizations.
Disaster events affect people in all spheres of life and therefore we have a responsibility to ourselves, and to our country to be part of the resilience effort.
As we recognise the International Day For Disaster Reduction, the Office of Disaster Management thinks it fitting to launch the official webpage; www.odm.gov.dm. This webpage is designed to reach all ages of society and is designed to be very interactive.
The Office of Disaster Management looks forward to your feedback and let today –International Day For Disaster Reduction, be a part of our everyday life as we continue in our efforts to reduce disasters.