Dear fellow bloggers,
I have been last week in Geneva at the United Nations to a conference of Brugitte Leoni, of the International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (ISDR). The main question was whether the disaster, known as natural disasters, are "natural disasters" or only disasters.
If a volcano eruption happens somwewhere where there is nobody, then it is just a natural hazard. While if a volcano (Vesuvio) erupts, for instance, in Napoli, it would be a "natural" disaster because of the many people living around the volcano, even if the Italian law does not allow people to build houses there. Should we therefore speak of "natural" disasters
or just of disasters?
Hazard * Exposure vulnerability = disaster
There are 4 factors that increase our vulnerability to disasters:
- Population growth and rapid urbanization
- Environmental degradation
- Climate change (drought and increasing number of storms and cyclones and floods)
- Poverty or social inequality
Today we have the responsability for the people that have no voice: the future generations.
It has been seen that the poorer you are, the more you’re affected.
We can do something to reduce our vulnerability to disasters (we know what to do, but we don’t do it): the Hyogo Framework of Action offers some solutions:
- Make disaster risk reduction a priority
- Know the risks and take action
- Build understanding and awareness
- Reduce risks (ecosystem services, like mangrove in Vietnam which help to protect from floods and tsunami)
- Be prepared and ready to act
People don’t want to move, the notion of risks, if you think it won’t happen to you, you won’t do anything
Educating and sharing information are the most important activity that should be done to lower the vulnerability, as shown in my previous post on Tilly Smith.
However, prevention is the 1st thing cancelled when there’s an economical crisis, you can include it in the geographical class, you don’t need to be rich to do education
Disasters cost more and more
Katrina 130 Billion US$, Kobe in 1995 120 Billion US$, Hurricane Mitch in 1998 put Nicaragua development back to 30 years.
Why acting now?
No country immune, it’s global, no frontiers, it’s a security problem, a political, economic, social, environmental and cultural problem
We know what can be done
Poor people will be the most affected, we all have a responsibility.
Therefore, in theory the best thing to do would be to prevent disasters, through education but also respecting and making respect the rules and laws as fare as security of the buildings is concerned. In particular of schools and of hospitals, because right after a disaster the presence of an hospital it is of extremely importance in the short term, while of the schools in the middle-long term.
For more information: