A message in which the Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs addresses the different themes covered by the International Day for Disaster Reduction from 2010 onward and highlights the preliminary results of the survey conducted by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) on the theme 'living with disability and disasters.' Citing WHO and UNICEF representatives as well as Handicap International, he calls on strengthening capacities and commitment to work as partners to reduce the vulnerabilities of people living with disabilities to disasters.
He asks the following questions: "Does everyone in this marquee now, have a personal preparedness plan for disasters? Do we all have the ability to protect ourselves and persons living with disabilities from any form of an disaster event? Should a warning of a looming disaster be issued now, are we all going to have sufficient time to evacuate and most importantly consider and remember first, persons living with disabilities who are in our mist today?" He then urges the assembly to use knowledge, skills and awareness to participate in the development of disaster management plans, both at national and local level.
Recalling the Local Government Turn Around Strategy and its two key objectives, he looks into the issues of inclusiveness, participation, empowerment and localisation of efforts and capacities to inform policy and operational improvements around disaster risk reduction measures, and argues that the lasting impact on risk reduction for all can only be effective and sustainable, if it is considered that women, children, youth groups and people living with disabilities can also take part in building resilient societies. He finally calls on the government to encourage any measures which are aimed at fostering “bottom-up” while also promoting “top-to-bottom” approaches to disaster risk reduction.
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