“Effective risk reduction relies on international cooperation and global solidarity.”
– António Guterres, Secretary-General, UN
Disasters, whether natural or artificial, are bound to bring loss to life and property. However, global cooperation is required to manage and reduce the impact of any disaster. Marching with the aim to create awareness and reduce the risk associated with disasters, the world observes International Day for Disaster Reduction on October 13.
The day holds significance as its attempts to seek global cooperation and solidarity in facing a disaster.
October 13, 1989
In 1989, the United General Assembly called for a day to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. Every year, October 13 is observed as International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. The day 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.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, taken up in 2015 at the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, calls for a people-focussed and action-oriented approach to disaster risk reduction. The framework applies hazards, both natural or artificial arising risks, whether small-scale and large-scale disasters.
October 13, 2021
The focus for this year’s celebration is on international cooperation for developing countries to reduce their disaster risk and disaster losses. This is also the sixth of the seven Sendai targets.
The theme this year calls for real action on climate and assessing the progress made by countries in managing the risk of disasters. The impact of disasters can be felt economically, financially, and socially. It affects life, livelihood, and property. The impact can be greatly seen in low and middle-income countries in terms of mortality, numbers of people injured, displaced, and homeless, economic losses (as a percentage of GDP), and damage to critical infrastructure.
International cooperation and capacity building is the way to face the challenges posed by disasters.
NDMA- India’s strength
NDMA or National Disaster Management Authority has been playing a great role in reducing the impact of disasters in India. Be it Cyclone Fani or the Uttarakhand cloud burst incident, the disaster management team of NDMA has been actively involved in not only reducing the risk of disasters but also saving lives.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is the apex body for disaster management in India. It is mandatory under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 to set up NDMA. On December 23, 2005, NDMA was enacted by the Government of India under the Disaster Management Act to prevent, mitigate and prepare for natural disasters.
The NDMA lays down policies, plans, and guidelines to ensure a timely and effective response to disasters. It also approves the National plans, State plans, and those prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India to handle the disaster in a better manner. Moreover, it also recommends the provision of funds required for the purpose of mitigation.
The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) for capacity building and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has also been set up for the management and response to disasters.
India’s disaster reduction initiative
According to India’s National Policy on Disaster Management, India is prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, droughts, cyclones, tsunami, landslides, and avalanches. Almost 59% of India’s landmass is prone to earthquakes; over 12% of the land is prone to floods; about 76% of the coastline is prone to cyclones and tsunamis; 68% of the cultivable area is drought-prone, and hilly areas are subject to wet and dry landslides and avalanches.
India is not only engaging in strengthening its infrastructure to reduce the impact of disasters domestically but also making efforts to extend help globally. Recently, Home Minister Amit Shah announced that the government is working on a programme to have disaster management volunteers in 350 districts of the country as first responders and map the Brahmaputra flood plains to create artificial lakes to mitigate annual Assam floods.
Similarly, on the international front, the Government of India has signed a memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh and Italy wherein the countries have agreed to come together to mitigate and reduce the risk of disasters jointly.
The MoUs signed between the countries seek to put in place a system, whereby both India and Italy and India and Bangladesh can benefit from the disaster management mechanisms of each other’s country. It will also help in strengthening the areas of preparedness, response, and capacity building in disaster management.