MESSAGE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR DISASTER REDUCTION
8 October 2003
theme of this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction
is “turning the tide on disasters towards sustainable development”.
reminds us, during the International Year of Freshwater, that
the task is
not just to preserve water resources to sustain
life, but also to reduce the capacity of water to take life away.
More than 90 per cent of all disasters occurring around the world
today are related to water – either too little of it, in
the case of droughts, or too much of it, in the case of floods,
landslides, cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons. Many communities
suffer repeated disasters year after year.
are a part of life. But hazards only become disasters when people’s
lives and livelihoods are swept away. The vulnerability of communities
is growing due to human activities that lead to
increased poverty, greater urban density, environmental degradation
and climate change.
It is well
within our power to do something about this. Better decision-making,
planning, effective risk management,
innovation in development and environmental protection activities – these
are the human activities that can reduce the vulnerability of communities.
To this end, risk assessment and disaster reduction should be integral
parts of all sustainable development projects and policies.
On the International Day for Disaster Reduction, let us remind
ourselves that we can and must reduce the number and impact of
disasters by building sustainable communities that have the long-term
capacity to live with risk.