Communities all over the world have taught us that having the right knowledge, skills and attitudes to be prepared for, respond to, and recover from disasters can mean the difference between life and death and everyone can play a role in making that difference.
Building the resilience of communities and nations is fundamental to achieving disaster risk reduction and succeeding in attaining development that is sustainable.
Investing in disaster risk reduction is a precondition for developing sustainably in a changing climate and adapting to our environment.
Let us look at what is a risk? Risk is the combination of the probability of an event and its negative consequences. Risks are caused by hazards.
And what are hazards? A hazard is a dangerous phenomenon, substance, human activity or condition that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage.
Risk can be mitigated by limiting exposure to hazards, by reducing vulnerabilities, or by building capacity. The formula also clearly shows us that there are no real ‘natural’ disasters. Even when the hazard is natural, whether or not it becomes a disaster (a serious disruption to the functioning of our community or society, to the extent that, even with all the resources we have, we are not able to cope) depends very much on human aspects — on how a society is built and prepared.
Climate change magnifies disaster risk and increases the cost of disasters. Through changing temperatures, precipitation and sea levels, amongst other factors, global climate change is modifying hazard levels and exacerbating disaster risks in different sectors and countries. The number of weather-related hazards has tripled, and the number of people living in flood-prone areas and cyclone-exposed coastlines doubled. The trend is expected to continue to increase. As risks become further amplified by increasing climate variability and change, higher losses and impacts in the future are expected, which would certainly undermine current and future development efforts. We, in Seychelles are also feeling the effects of climate change and need to prepare and adapt to the changes at hand.
Infrastructure, such as road, power, communications and water networks, and health and primary education facilities, is a basic requirement of a competitive economy. When infrastructure fails during a disaster event, it can interrupt vital services and threatens the sustainability of large and small businesses. For example, power failures may disrupt water supply and transport during heavy storms or cyclones.
We have to be focusing on the sustainable management and protection as well as strengthening resilience, all this can contribute to reducing disaster risk and we can all look around our homes/businesses/place of work for any potential risks that we can prevent or if not at least mitigate and reduce its potential impact.
Everyone can play a role to protect themselves, their family, and their country!