What is Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster-Risk3Wikipedia defines Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) as a systematic approach to identifying, assessing and reducing the risks of disaster. It aims to reduce socio-economic vulnerabilities to disaster as well as dealing with the environmental and other hazards that trigger them.

United Nations defines disaster risk reduction as a conceptual framework of elements considered with the possibilities to minimize vulnerabilities and disaster risks throughout a society, to avoid (prevention) or to limit (mitigation and preparedness) the adverse impacts of hazards, within the broad context of sustainable development.

Disaster-Risk4From viewing disasters as events of natural fury, act of god, the governments and civil society organizations across the world have evolved into understand disasters from scientific and management perspectives.

These perspectives helped the government and non government organizations to prepare for timely and effective response to save lives and reduce suffering.

Over the last decade the focus has rightly shifted to understand root causes of disaster risk and vulnerabilities and reducing these vulnerabilities through policies, resources, technologies and capacity building.

For many humanitarian organizations, disaster risk reduction is a continuation of humanitarian reconstruction that can be linked with development activities, as Oxfam says “Since disasters have the potential to undermine development, measures to prevent, prepare for and mitigate disasters should inform every plan and strategy for sustainable development”.

The World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe (January 2005) concluded with the Hyogo Declaration which contends that “States have the primary responsibility to protect the people and property on their territory from hazards and to give high priority to disaster risk reduction in national policy, consistent with their capacities and resources available to them”.

Over the last two decades, series of disasters have awakened the conscious of civil society organizations and policy makers in to addressing disaster risks in a comprehensive manner. Today, we see a number of global conferences and initiatives on the ground trying to spread the policies and practices of disaster risk reduction.

Key Message: Disaster risk reduction should combine the efforts of community vulnerability reduction with periodic risk assessment, firm implementation of disaster mitigation policies and appropriate use of technologies.

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