International Day for Disaster Reduction (13th Oct, 2018)

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A disaster is a serious disruption, occurring over a relatively short time, of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources. There are two types of disaster – first being Natural, examples which include drought, earthquakes, tsunamis, heavy rain resulting in flooding, land/mud slides, hurricanes and much more.

The second are man-made disasters which include war, civil unrest, deforestation, chemical / radiological leaks, arson, environmental pollution and cyber attacks just to mention a few.

There are several ways of reducing disasters and some of the ways are;

  • Aware of hazards that can occur in your area and be prepared to mitigate them
  • Advance contingency planning for evacuation just in case it occurs
  • Early emergency warning systems
  • Regular conduct mock drills
  • Have a strong network for mitigating the disaster e.g. method of  communicating with authorities or neighbors.
  • Take action in order to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of the disaster e.g. regular maintenance of facilities, equipment or infrastructure
  • Provision of emergency shelters that are fully equipped with food and medical kits
  • Track progress/development of possible disasters
  • Move away from affected area when aware of looming disaster.

Disasters are terrible. They destabilize human life and result in a lot of suffering. There is a lot of useful information online on how we can prepare for a disaster. Disasters can occur at anytime but if we are prepared it greatly reduce our suffering. Many countries have undergone a lot of suffering due to disasters. Natural disasters have become frequent due to climate change. Floods, tsunamis, earthquakes and epidemics have affected the some parts of the world recently. It is significant that we prepare for both types of disasters so that we reduce casualties.

Compiled by Grace Sitienei – University of Nairobi Library