International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction
The United Nations (UN) International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction is annually observed on the second Wednesday of October to raise the profile of disaster risk reduction. It also encourages people and governments to participate in building more resilient communities and nations.
Activities for the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction usually include media announcements about launches for campaigns that center on the day’s theme. Governments and communities also take part in the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction through various events such as drawing, drama, essay or photography competitions that focus on making people aware of natural disaster reduction and increasing their preparedness for such situations. Other activities include: community tree planting; conferences, fairs and seminars; and street parades.
Many people around the world have lost their lives, homes or access to essential facilities, such as hospitals, due to natural disasters, including earthquakes, droughts, tsunamis, heavy flooding, hurricanes or cyclones. Some of these disasters have caused economic damage to some countries. The UN acknowledges that education, training, and information exchanges are effective ways to help people become better equipped in withstanding natural disasters.
On December 22, 1989, the UN General Assembly designated the second Wednesday of October as the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction. This event was to be observed annually during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, 1990-1999. On December 20, 2001, the assembly decided to maintain the observance to promote a global culture of natural disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.
This year the focus of the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) is on older people. The day highlights the need for a more inclusive approach for older people in disaster risk reduction. It recognizes the critical role they can play in better planning and understanding disaster risk, and how they can help with resilience-building in their communities through their experience and knowledge. IDDR 2014 will focus on the contributions of older people now, and also for the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.