Stop Disasters

Editorial Good Morning Kashmir

Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes just one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on earth, we’re still at the mercy of nature. We live in an age of disasters. Prevention efforts and coordinated responses to disasters save lives and lessen their impact on communities. The World Risk Index, developed by UNU-EHS, calculates and compares risk values for 173 countries worldwide, and shows regions and countries that face a high disaster risk. The report clarifies that disasters cannot be attributed to meteorological or geological phenomena alone, but that they are determined also by social structures and processes. The index reveals a very high disaster risk for many Asian and Latin American countries. Most often they occur due to minimal approaches in enforcing environmental health laws and policies. According to EM-DAT, 440 natural disasters occurred in 2019 worldwide, killing 24,112 people and affecting approx. 100 million people. The estimated amount of economic damage came to over US$102 billion.


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By region, Asia was ranked the highest in disaster occurrences, number of people affected and amount of economic damage with 38.2 percent in occurrences; number of people affected, 74.4 percent; and amount of economic damage, 60.6 percent. Disaster management involves examining and managing causal factors. It requires assessing the extent to which a community can withstand a disaster. Risk reduction begins long before a natural hazard occurs. World Risk Report 2011 highlights the impact of governance issues and civil society on disaster risk. Drawing on detailed, real-life case studies from countries such as India and Bangladesh, it demonstrates that weak governance is one of the most important risk factors with regard to the severity of impact of natural hazards. Eradicating or reducing social vulnerability by reducing poverty, the promotion of better coping capacities and the strengthening of adaptive capacities all present realistic options for actions to reduce risk and prevent future disasters. Also we can mitigate them by locating hazardous sites and materials away from centres of population, rapid effective remedial action in the event of a disaster to minimize longer term risks. Raising awareness about potential hazards can also go a long way in the contribution towards the same.

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