2010 has already proved to be a year of massive disasters - with hundreds of thousands killed in the Haiti earthquake and millions displaced by unprecedented flooding in Pakistan. These events demonstrate the massive destructive power of disasters, and highlight once again the need for continued commitment to and investment in, disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures.
ActionAid's disaster preparedness and DRR initiatives are supporting communities in over 15 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to prepare for, mitigate and overcome the impacts of disasters. The organisation has recently hosted two regional conferences on the subject in Nairobi and Bangkok, bringing together key stakeholders from across the sector to map out strategies for future work.
On 13th October ActionAid offices around the world will mark International Day for Disaster Reduction.
In Myanmar, where Cyclone Nargis wreaked massive destruction in May 2008, ActionAid will be raising awareness of the importance of DRR with government officials and donors, as well as with communities affected by the cyclone.
In Afghanistan radio programmes will use the day as an entry-point for discussing issues of DRR amongst disaster-prone communities. In Haiti, where the impacts of the January earthquake remain all too visible, community events will reiterate the need for DRR to be integrated into the wider recovery and rehabilitation process.
In Kenya, ActionAid will join UNISDR and other actors in raising awareness in a Nairobi slum, and lobbying city and ministry officials to sign up to the checklist of "Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient" proposed by the 2010-2011 World Disaster Reduction Campaign.
"Initiatives such as these help raise the profile of DRR as an essential component in the fight to reduce the impacts of disasters," said John Abuya, International Thematic Projects Manager with ActionAid. "'Making Cities Resilient' - the theme of this year's day - is all the more appropriate given the recent earthquake in Haiti, in which the capital Port-au-Prince bore the brunt of the destruction. This is why we continue to call for governments and donors to invest in crucial mitigation and preparedness measures that can save lives and ultimately reduce the economic costs of disasters."
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