Disaster Risk Reduction: Everyone’s responsibility

Disasters are serious disruption of the functioning of a society. From the start of this year, the world has experienced many disasters. Few examples are the chemical attacks on civilians in Syria, the infestation of fall armyworm in many Southern African countries and most recently the huge forest fires in Portugal. Similarly, Seychelles have experienced incidents, though not on the same magnitude as other countries. For instance we have seen incidents such as frequent house fires, ammonia leakage and dengue outbreak.
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) aims at reducing disaster risk, promoting sustainable development, protecting persons and their property, livelihoods, health, as well as cultural and environmental assets. Through DRR countries can build resilience to disasters. It involves all of us, from the least to the most vulnerable in our community and society. It begins with efficient and effective disaster risk governance in the country. This involves investing in DRR, establishing programs to inculcate a sense of prevention in communities, introducing DRR into education curricula and disseminating DRR knowledge to youth club etc. DRR involves all sectors. Thus there needs to be effective coordination mechanism within and across sectors. This will ensure proper allocation of roles and responsibilities across public and private stakeholders so that accountability, transparence and follow-up can be made. Additionally each individual should take its own responsibility to change mindset, behavior and perception on DRR. In many instances people have shared indigenous knowledge on DRR which have been of great help to prepare and respond to disasters. On another note people have refused to follow best practices out of their own personal choices which have led to disasters or they themselves have become victims in times of disasters.

Seychelles as a Small Island State is working towards DRR. The Department of Risk and Disaster Management has started to conduct Risk Assessment of the industrial sector and other government ministries. These are aimed to identify hazards and risk in the workplaces and community and find ways and solutions to minimize them. Furthermore educating the public on the importance of DRR remains a priority and strategy for the department. However we still have a long way to go. We shall achieve more through the engagement and partnership of all of us in the society.

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