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Preparedness to tackle disasters inadequate, warns International Science Council

The increasing number of natural disasters is dragging many achievements in disaster mitigation.

Planet Earth is prepared to face the ever-increasing challenges posed by natural calamities including floods and earthquakes, according to a report. Making a clarion call for a ‘rethink’ on risk management globally, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction has pointed out that after 1990, as many as 10,700 natural disasters had happened, affecting over six billion people across the world.

The international community had, in 2015, vowed to lessen casualties and damages caused by natural calamities by 2030 via the Sendai Framework, which aimed to invest in risk evaluation and help prepare the global community to tackle disasters. The report by the International Science Council now says this goal is unlikely to be met. The Council is an umbrella unit of dozens of scientific organisations.

According to a report on this, floods and storms, mainly triggered by climate change, accounted for the bulk of calamities – nearly 42 per cent of all the natural disasters recorded globally in this period. 

Risk mitigation efforts inadequate

The increasing number of natural calamities is dragging many achievements in disaster mitigation, as per the report.  It said the international community is not paying adequate attention for risk mitigation, adding the investments needed for planning and prevention are also meagre.

The response by the international community to the recent earthquake that ravaged Turkey and Syria was quick and efficient. But the United Nations special representative for disaster risk reduction, Mami Mizutori, was quoted as saying more preparedness is vital to tackle impending disasters.

Mizutori emphasised the need to reinforce infrastructure and boost ecosystems, rather than scrambling to rebuild after disasters strike.

The report said there was a drastic need for more resources, pointing out that only 5.2% of financial assistance for developing countries was earmarked for disaster response tasks between 2011 and 2022. The rest of the major chunk of allocation was utilised for reconstruction efforts after disasters, indicating skewed priorities.

Added deployment of early disaster warning systems must

The International Science Council has urged the maximum deployment of early warning systems. It said a day’s notice about a storm can effectively bring down the damage by nearly 30 per cent.

In an earlier report published in January also the UNGA had flagged that nations were not equipped to meet the challenges posed by disasters.

The report pointed out that the number of people hit by disasters as well as the magnitude of the damage was increasing. It put the cost of direct damage caused by disasters in the 2015-21 period at $330 billion a year.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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