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International Day for Disaster Reduction

By Paul Robinson - 13 Oct 2013 10:0:0 GMT
International Day for Disaster Reduction

IDDR image; Credit: © UNISDR

With the International Day of Disaster Reduction (IDDR) concentrating on the situation of our one billion disabled people in these events, the need is to get a message over. The deaf, the old and the more obviously limited such as blind and limbless need special effort, given our habit of promoting global warming and dropping waste in laces that waste does not belong.

After an early Natural Disaster label, perhaps the UN realised that these disasters are often less than natural. However the terrible cyclone currently over India and natural cataclysmic events usually tend to occupy our thoughts. It is the UN's intention to promote the abilities of the disabled to help in these emergencies.

Every community (and each citizen within) needs to build a more disaster-resilient group with which to combat these terrible events that seem to hit every now and then, on some of us more than others. Asia seems the most involved of all the continents, but I find it hard to believe we don't all care about future disaster around the whole planet.

Firstly, in 1989, the UN began to see the international day as, "a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness." In 2009, the General Assembly of the UN made this day the official day of recognition for those who want a prepared, intelligent and resilient response to practically any disaster that can be expected.

Themes for the disabled caught up in disasters are found to be:

the necessity of accommodating assistive devices and personal support networks in evacuation and sheltering scenarios;

the importance of knowing where people live and work;

the fact that there was no "one size fits all" solution;

and the need to ensure an array of communications, transportation, housing and relief strategies to meet a variety of individual needs and circumstances.

Perhaps the most important lesson learned, however, involved the critical need for networking and collaborative planning between people with disabilities and planners, responders and government leaders. Let's hope every country prepares for the worst, and expects the best.