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How to reduce the impact of disasters

August 18, 2022

How to reduce the impact of disasters

The objective of disaster risk reduction (DRR) policy is to anticipate and reduce risk. Although the terms are frequently used interchangeably, disaster risk management (DRM) can be considered the execution of DRR because it outlines the actions that try to achieve the goal of risk reduction.

Because disaster risk is an indicator of weak development, lowering disaster risk necessitates incorporating disaster risk reduction policy and practice into long-term development goals.

What is disaster risk reduction?

By the end of the 20th century, it was becoming more and more accepted that disasters are not natural (even if the accompanying hazard is) and that the only way to stop losses and lessen the effects of disasters is to manage and reduce factors that increase vulnerability, exposure, and risk. Because we cannot lower the intensity of natural disasters, the greatest possibility for risk reduction is to reduce vulnerability and exposure. Identifying and addressing the root causes of risk, such as poor economic and urban development decisions and practices, environmental degradation, poverty and inequality, and climate change, which all contribute to and exacerbate hazard, exposure, and vulnerability conditions, is necessary to reduce risk. Addressing these fundamental risk drivers can minimize disaster risk, mitigate the effects of climate change, and, as a result, ensure the long-term viability of development.

We all must handle both risks and disasters

Because disaster risk reduction is a component of sustainable development, it must engage all sectors of society, including the government, non-governmental organizations, and the professional and private sectors. As a result, a people-centered and multi-sector approach is required to create resilience to various, cascading, and interacting risks while also fostering a culture of prevention and resilience. As a result, DRM comprises strategies to:

  • Avoiding the creation of new dangers
  • Address pre-existing dangers
  • Risk should be shared and diffused to avoid disaster losses being absorbed by other development outcomes and causing more poverty.

DRR works best when local, bottom-up strategies are paired with top-down institutional changes and regulations. Disaster risk reduction programs should not exist in isolation but should be integrated into development strategy and practice because disasters are an indicator of failed or distorted development, unsustainable economic and social processes, and ill-adapted civilizations.

Approaches must address the many levels of risk (from intensive to extensive risk), as well as the underlying risk causes, and must be adapted to local settings. There is no “one-size-fits-all” method for disaster risk management, but there are several approaches and frameworks that have been successfully adopted to decrease disaster risk. However, before we can reduce risk, we must first identify the hazards, as well as the exposure and vulnerability of people and assets to those hazards.

How do we reduce risks?

Prevention

Activities and efforts to mitigate current and emerging disaster risks (often less costly than disaster relief and response). For example, transferring vulnerable persons and assets away from a hazardous region. Even as homes flood and coasts disintegrate, managed settlement retreat remains a difficult call. We can start disaster relief fund donation to help those in need.

Mitigation

The reduction or limiting of the negative effects of hazards and related disasters. For example, flood defenses, tree planting to stabilise slopes, and tight land use and building construction requirements.

An example: Mitigation prevents: A robust runway at Portland International Airport could save up to $50 for every $1 invested in mitigation.

Transfer

A household, community, business, or state authority obtains resources from another party after a disaster occurs in exchange for ongoing or compensatory social or financial benefits given to that other party. This transfer may be formal or informal and involves the financial consequences of particular risks being transferred from one party to another. Take, for example, insurance.

Preparedness

The ability of governments, professional response and recovery organizations, communities, and individuals to successfully predict, respond to and recover from the effects of potential, imminent, or current hazard occurrences or situations is preparedness. Installing early warning systems, defining evacuation routes, and preparing emergency supplies are just a few examples. An example: The new NRMA Insurance Minecraft world teaches Australian children the necessity of bushfire preparedness.

Implementation of these actions and measures is rarely done in isolation and usually comprises a variety of related activities, such as:

  • Identifying and quantifying disaster risk
  • Education and knowledge expansion
  • Making people aware of their risk (awareness raising
  • DRM integration into national planning and investment
  • Enhancing institutional and legislative frameworks
  • Providing financial security to vulnerable individuals and enterprises (finance and contingency planning)
  • Integrating DRR across many areas, such as health, the environment, and so on.

Risk-reduction activities can be classified as structural, such as land-use planning and building code implementation, or non-structural, such as public awareness, policy development, and legislation. Risk governance refers to how governments, civic society, and other actors organize DRM, such as through institutional structures, laws and decentralization, and systems for involvement and responsibility. There is compelling evidence that low-income nations with poor governance are more vulnerable and less resilient to disaster risk.

Fundamentally, DRR reduces risk through enhancing the strengths, qualities, and resources available within a community, society, or organization – together known as their capacity. DRM actions are intended to strengthen people’s, communities’, societies’, and systems’ resilience to resist, absorb, accommodate, recover from, and improve well-being in the face of numerous hazards. Activities for risk reduction and management can thus be used to create resilience to additional threats. DRM should thus be integrated across several areas, including climate change and conflict, in addition to development.

Are we reducing risks?

Even though we have made some progress in lowering the disaster mortality linked to intensive risks, due to increased exposure of people and economic assets, both the absolute global economic losses from disasters and the economic losses linked to extensive risks are trending upward, though not concerning GDP. Some low- and middle-income countries may lack the financial resilience to absorb the expected average yearly losses from future disasters, which threaten the very economic survival of many small islands and developing states.

We’ve been increasing danger quicker than we’ve been decreasing it.

More needs to be done to avoid new hazards from forming as a result of increased urbanization, the threat of climate change, and other risk drivers. Disasters might occur as a result of synchronous failures in a society that is becoming more interconnected, as we are now witnessing. Sustainable development is possible; the question is whether we can adjust our attitude in time to avoid disaster risk from reaching disastrous levels. Also, we must gather together to help those people who are affected by disasters right now, donate to the Catholic Connect foundation if you can’t help them directly. Remember we need to join hands and work together to reduce the risk of disaster.