The global plan to reduce disaster losses focuses primarily on prevention, aiming to recognise and nullify disaster risks before they trigger events that lead to the loss of life, homes and livelihoods, as well as damage to health facilities, schools, public utilities and other important communal assets.
The International Day for Disaster Reduction was first held in 1989, after a call by the United Nations General Assembly for a day to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction.
The day is held every year on 13 October and celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.
International Day for Disaster Reduction forms part of the "Sendai Seven" campaign, which is centred on the seven targets of the Sendai Framework. This year there is a specific focus on reducing economic disaster losses by 2030.
“Since the Sendai Framework was adopted in 2015, some 60 million people in over 100 countries have been displaced by disaster events, mainly floods, storms and droughts.
“These adverse events often take place in environments exposed to natural and man-made hazards, poverty, lack of protective ecosystems, and weak institutional capacity to prepare for and respond to them,” says Deidre Penfold, Executive Director of the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA).
Population growth, economic development, and rapid and often risk-blind urbanization place more people in harm’s way than ever before in earthquake zones, flood plains, coastlines, dry lands and other high-risk areas, increasing the possibility that a natural hazard turns into a humanitarian catastrophe.
More people are affected by extreme weather events than any other type of natural hazards, be they floods, storms or drought, which are responsible for 95 per cent of disaster-affected populations.