Roundup: Natural hazards, man-made disasters

There’s no such thing as a natural disaster.

That’s the frequent reminder from preparedness advocates, who warn that while hazards like earthquakes and tropical storms may be inevitable, the death and destruction they often bring don’t have to be. Policymakers, planners, and everyday people make choices that either escalate or shrink disaster risk from choosing where to build residential neighbourhoods, to funding early warning systems and other preparedness measures.

This message is in the spotlight for the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on 13 October. This year, disasters big and small have caused often-catastrophic damage across the globe and triggered billions in humanitarian response and recovery costs. Hurricane Dorian displaced much of the population on the Bahamas’ northern islands; Cyclone Idai caused horrifying damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere.

Yet the scale of the destruction wasn’t inevitable. On the Bahamas’ Abaco islands, the hardest-hit communities were highly exposed shanty towns home to Haitian migrants some of whom had fled the 2010 earthquake in their home country. In Zimbabwe, affected communities said evacuation alerts were missing before Idai struck; and in Mozambique, deforestation may have magnified the storm’s impacts.

But far less is spent on reducing risk than responding to or recovering from disasters. According to estimates from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, $5.2 billion in aid funding went to preparedness or prevention between 2005 and 2017 just 3.8 percent of what was spent on response and reconstruction.

Source: The New Humanitatian

Roundup: Natural hazards, man-made disasters

There’s no such thing as a natural disaster.

That’s the frequent reminder from preparedness advocates, who warn that while hazards like earthquakes and tropical storms may be inevitable, the death and destruction they often bring don’t have to be. Policymakers, planners, and everyday people make choices that either escalate or shrink disaster risk from choosing where to build residential neighbourhoods, to funding early warning systems and other preparedness measures.

This message is in the spotlight for the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on 13 October. This year, disasters big and small have caused often-catastrophic damage across the globe and triggered billions in humanitarian response and recovery costs. Hurricane Dorian displaced much of the population on the Bahamas’ northern islands; Cyclone Idai caused horrifying damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere.

Yet the scale of the destruction wasn’t inevitable. On the Bahamas’ Abaco islands, the hardest-hit communities were highly exposed shanty towns home to Haitian migrants some of whom had fled the 2010 earthquake in their home country. In Zimbabwe, affected communities said evacuation alerts were missing before Idai struck; and in Mozambique, deforestation may have magnified the storm’s impacts.

But far less is spent on reducing risk than responding to or recovering from disasters. According to estimates from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, $5.2 billion in aid funding went to preparedness or prevention between 2005 and 2017 just 3.8 percent of what was spent on response and reconstruction.

Source: The New Humanitatian