Wednesday 11 October 2006
     International Day for Disaster Reduction


11 October 2006
English - French

The theme of this year's observance of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, “Disaster Risk Reduction Begins at School”, highlights the need to keep our children safe and to involve them directly in our work to strengthen disaster preparedness.

Children are especially vulnerable to the threats posed by natural hazards. At the same time, they can be powerful agents of change, provided they are well armed with knowledge about how to prepare in advance, how to act on warnings and how to reduce risk at home and in their communities. It is essential, therefore, to make disaster risk education a component of national school curricula, and to ensure that children understand how natural hazards interact with the environment. Young people should also be included in community risk-mapping exercises, and have opportunities to share experiences and best practices with others, including their peers. School buildings themselves should be fortified, so that they can better withstand the forces of nature.

Over the last decade, disasters triggered by natural hazards have claimed more than 600,000 lives and affected more than 2.4 billion people, the majority of them in developing countries. Years of development gains have been lost, deepening poverty for millions and leaving them even more exposed to future natural hazards. Now more than ever, we must accelerate our efforts to reduce vulnerability.

Toward that end, the international community has committed itself to the priorities set out in the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the resilience of the nations and communities. The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) -- a global system encompassing a broad range of actors -- strives to improve coordination and mobilize resources. On this International Day for Disaster Reduction, I call on Governments and all relevant actors – from teachers to businesses to civil society -- to respond to the needs of children and all other vulnerable populations in hazard-prone areas.

What is the International Day for Disaster Reduction?

In 1989, the United Nations General Assembly designated the second Wednesday of October International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction (resolution 44/236, 22 December 1989). The International Day was observed annually during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, 1990-1999.

In 2001, the General Assembly decided to maintain the observance of the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction (resolution 56/195, 21 December 2001), as a vehicle to promote a global culture of natural disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

The theme of the International Day for Disaster Reduction and campaign for 2006 “Disaster risk reduction begins at school” aims at promoting disaster risk education and school safety.

To promote your International Day activities on our website please send an e-mail to
World Disaster Reduction Campaign

“Disaster Risk Reduction Begins at School”, aims to inform and mobilize Governments, communities and individuals to ensure that disaster risk reduction is fully integrated into school curricula in high risk countries and that school buildings are built or retrofitted to withstand natural hazards. The Campaign’s key partners include UNESCO, UNICEF, ActionAid International, the IFRC, and the ISDR’s thematic cluster on knowledge and education.
Press kit full version
PDF format
English 6MB
Français 7MB
Español 7MB
Frequently asked questions
Fact sheet
What can be done?
Case studies
Photo gallery
Thematic cluster on knowledge
and education
On-line resources


Statement by Johan Schaar
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
New York, 10 October 2006
Advocacy Event: ISDR Update

Statement by Zehra Aydin, Senior Programme Officer, UNEP
New York, 10 October 2006
Advocacy Envent: ISDR Update

Message by Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, UNESCO Director-General, on the occasion of the 2006 International Disaster Reduction Day
Paris, 11 October 2006
English - French - Spanish

 Africa - Americas -Asia & the Pacific - Europe
United States of America
Activities: Advocacy event: ISDR update
Date: Tuesday 10 October 2006, ECOSOC Chamber,
United Nations Headquarters, New York
Contact: Laura Ngo-Fontaine, Public Information Officer, UN/ISDR, Tel: +41 22 917 8896,

Activities: Three Conferences on Algeria’s experience with natural hazards and a one-day open laboratory with posters, books and internet surfing to raise disaster risk awareness amongst students, university staff and the public. These activities are co-organized by the Algerian Government, Algerian Red Crescent and the Algerian Civil Protection.
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2006, Algiers, Algeria
Contact: Prof. Djillali Benouar, Director, Built Environment Res. Lab,
Activities: Workshop on disaster risk reduction in with representatives from the
National Disaster Management Unit, the UNDP, Red Cross, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and several NGOs.
Date: Thursday 12 October 2006
Contact: Ms. Noroarisoa Rakotondrandria, Tel: +254 20 762 4568,
Activities: A conference on policy implementation on DRR in the country. A Red Cross presentation on school education and emergencies, and an exhibition organized by Gabon’s National Platform members on their disaster risk reduction activities.
Date:  Wednesday 11 October 2006
Contact: Mr. Jean Pierre Mi Ndong Minsta, Permanent Secretary, Ministère de la Prévention et de la Gestion des Calamités Naturelles,
Activities: Radio and television talk shows with the participation of Government and UNDP representatives about disaster risk reduction issues. Gambia’s Vice-President will issue a televised address on the International Day.
Date: Saturday 07 – Wednesday 11 October 2006
Contact:  Ms. Noroarisoa Rakotondrandria, Tel: +254 20 762 4568,
Activities: Round Table Conference on integrating disaster risk reduction into Ghana’s national school curricula and a press conference to commemorate the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2006
Contact:  Ms. Noroarisoa Rakotondrandria, Tel: +254 20 762 4568,
Activities: Presentation of school manuals and guides on developed corresponding to the theme " Disaster Risk Reduction begins at School" with the participation of representatives from the media, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Interior and the Administrative Reform and members of the National Platform for Disaster Reduction.
Date: Wednesday 11 October, Conseil National de Secour, Antanimora Antananarivo, Madagascar
Contact: Mr. Jacky Roland Randimbiarison, Conseil National de Secours,
Activities: Public Lecture to mark this year’s International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction in Nigeria
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2006, The Assembly Hall, South Campus,The Polytechnic of Ibadan, Nigeria
Contact: Tel: +234-2-200-5940,
South Africa
Activities: Launch and official opening of the Chris Hani District Municipality’s disaster management centre.
Date: Thursday 12 October 2006, Queenstown Eastern Cape, South Africa
Contact: Ms. Noroarisoa Rakotondrandria, Tel: +254 20 762 4568,
Activities: Third Canadian Risk and Hazards Network Symposium
Date: 11-13 October 2006, Montréal, Canada
Contact: Mr. Michel Dufault, Tel :+1 514 987-3000 ext. 4887,
Activities: CARE, Federación Internacional por el Desarrollo de los Pueblos, OPS, PREDECAN.
Financiado por DIPECHO con la participación de Defensa Civil de Ecuador, Colegio de
Periodistas, Federación Nacional de Periodistas, y todos los participantes
del Proyecto DIPECHO: CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development)
Date: 28 de Setiembre, CIESPAL, Quito, Ecuador
Contact: Ms. Margarita Villalobos, UN/ISDR Panama, Tel: +507 317 1124,
Activities: Seminario Internacional sobre Manejo Integrado de Riesgo y Vulnerabilidad en Municipios de América Latina y el Caribe
Date: 30 October – 02 November 2006, Panama City, Panama
Contact: Ms. Ruth Custode,
Asia & the Pacific
Activities: Symposium for improving integrated disaster reduction capacity organized by the State Commission of Disaster Reduction of China and an inaugural ceremony for the opening of the the Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management in China's Ministry of Civil Affairs& Ministry of Education.
Date: Monday 09 -Wednesday 11 October 2006, Beijing, China
Contact: Mr. Hu Junfeng,
Activities: National level Seminar on "Disaster Risk Reduction Begins at School" organized by Bangladesh’s Disaster Management Bureau. In addition, Bangladesh’s Disaster Preparedness Centre and Handicap International will issue two posters to observe the International Day.
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2006, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Contact: Ms. Maliha Ferdous, Bangladesh Disaster Preparedness Centre, Tel: +88 02 8815074,
Activities: Launch of the National Disaster plan and Award Ceremony
Date: Wednesday 11- Friday 13 October, 2006, Suva, Fiji
Contact: Ms. Ruth Lane, UN-OCHA,
Activities: Public forum "Winning Against Disasters - Roles of Education, Development and Community Action for Sustainable Development”.
Date: Thursday 19 October 2006, United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan
Activities: Launch of a short-term, distance learning "Certificate Course on Disaster Management for School Teachers" and of “Safe Schools Update” a newsletter aimed at school students in India sharing the science of recent disasters and related knowledge. The newsletter would be produced monthly and initially reach out to over 200 schools in 5 regions of India.
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2006
Contact: Mr. Manu Gupta, Manu Gupta, SEEDS India, Tel: + 91 11 26498371,
Activities: One-day workshop on the theme "Disaster risk reduction begins at school’ organized by the Science Advisors of District Institute of Educational & Training (DIETs), working with the Gujarat Council on Educational Research & Training (GCERT) and the primary school teachers, science communicators. The workshop address various activities on disaster risk reduction and safety aspects in school curriculum.
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2006, Gujarat, India
Contact: Mr. Manoj R. Kothari, Gujarat Council of Science City,
Activities: Jakarta Disaster Awareness Week
Date: 18-23 September 2006, Jakarta, Indonesia
Contact: Mr. Achmad Harjadi, or Mr. Akhmad Hidayatno,,
Activities: School debate, youth rally, gallery show on rescue and preparedness materials for community and schools, street dram on school and community preparedness against hazards, FM radio programmes organized by ActionAid Nepal.
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2006, Sarlahi, Rupendehi and Makwanpur Districts, Nepal
Contact: Mr. Shashanka Saadi Project Manager, ActionAid Nepal, Tel: +977 1 4436477
Activities: A local Tajik station “Safina” will host a televised discussion organized by the UN/ISDR and Tajikistan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense of Tajikistan. Disaster reduction specialists a number of Tajik agencies and ISDR representatives will be present to answer questions from students aged 16-17 years.
Date: Broadcast on Wednesday 11 October 2006 at 18:00 hours local time
Contact: Ms. Takhmina Touraeva,
Activities: Local celebrations of the International Day for Disaster Reduction with the participation of the Ministry of Education, the Department for Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) of the Ministry of Interior of the Royal Government of Thailand as well as the Asian Disaster Reduction Centre (ADRC) from Kobe, Japan. See speech
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2006, Tab Lamu School in Pang Nga, Thailand
Contact: Ms.Christel Rose, UN/ISDR Bangkok, Tel +66 2 288 2766,
Activities: ASEAN Day for Disaster Management and the International Day for Disaster Reduction celebrations.
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2006, United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand
Contact: Ms. Adelina Kamal, ASEAN Secretariat, Tel + 622 1 7262991 ext. 316,
Activities: Disaster Reduction: Knowledge, Transfer, Practices, 7th Forum and Disaster Reduction Day
Date: 19-20 October 2006, GTZ, Eschborn, Germany
Activities: The Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development will distribute educational cd-roms about disaster risk reduction to 7000 high schools across the country. The cd-roms were developed with information based on Former US Vice-President Al Gore's film: An Inconvenient Truth.
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2006
Contact: Mr. Jacques Faye, Ministère de l'écologie et du développement durable,
Tel: +33 1 42 19 15 60,
Activities: Role of the National Hydrological and Meteorological Services in prevention and mitigation of natural hazards
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2006, Chisinau, Moldova
Contact: Ms. Berghi Natalia, Tel: +373 22 77 35 29,,
United Kingdom
Activities: International Day for Disaster Reduction: The Role of Japanese NGOs in Disaster Relief and Development
Date: Friday 13 October 2006, Northumbria University, United Kingdom
Contact: Mr. Komal Aryal,
Activities: Launch of ActionAid's report: "Lessons for life, Building a Culture of Safety and Resilience to Disaster through Schools". The report gives practical recommendations to governments to integrate disaster preparedness into curriculum and to improve the physical safety and resilience of school buildings.
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2006
Contact: Ms. Yasmin McDonnell,, or Mr. Jack Campbell,
ISDR fact sheet for journalists
Press Releases

International Day for Disaster Reduction, 2006
DIPECHO partners in Bangladesh

Islamic Relief Bangladesh
Dhaka, 11 0ctober 2006
see photo
President Clinton Calls for Global Commitment to Disaster Reduction
Office of the

Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery
New York, 11 October 2006

More commitment needed to reduce the risk and impact of disasters
UN/ISDR 06/11
New York, 10 October 2006

A Local School in Severely Tsunami-Stricken Area of Southern Thailand Celebrates the International Day for Disaster Reduction
UN/ISDR Bangkok
Pang Nga, Thailand, 11 October 2006

Governments must take action to help children to survive disasters
ActionAid International
10 October, 2006

International Risk Reduction Day: Red Cross Red Crescent stresses the importance of communities
Geneva, 9 October 2006

Education the Key at UN International Day
for Natural Disaster Reduction


Bangkok, 5 October 2006
UN/ISDR Video News Report
for the International Day for Disaster Reduction
English (9MB)
Français (9MB)
Español (9MB)

A video b-roll is also available and is distributed through UNIFEED,

For more information contact:
Brigitte Leoni
UN/ISDR, Media Relations Officer
Tel: +41 22 917 8897

Salvano Briceño
Director of the UN/ISDR secretariat

"As disaster risk reduction is everybody’s business and in everybody’s interest, we invite you to join the UN/ISDR secretariat and its partners in this world campaign. Together, we can help children build - with us and for all of us - a safer world. Schools make the difference between despair and hope. They can also make the difference between life and death"

Let Our Children Teach Us!
The ISDR System Thematic Cluster/Platform on Knowledge and Education and its partners are pleased to present "Let Our Children Teach Us! - A review of the Role of Education and Knowledge in Disaster Risk Reduction. This review, prepared by Professor Ben Wisner, examines good practices to reduce disaster risk through education, knowledge and innovation. It looks critically and strategically at current activities in order to identify gaps, opportunities in the form of synergism and partnerships.
more information


In Memoriam
Gilbert White

Founder of Natural Hazards Research

Just shy of his 95th birthday, Gilbert White, the founder of natural hazards research among geographers in the US and a towering figure worldwide, passed away at his home in Boulder, Colorado on 05 October 2006. Gilbert was a conscientious objector during the Second World War, driving an ambulance in France.  He worked during the Cold War to bring scientists together from "east" and "west." He was active thoughout his long life, and he leaves not only a huge void but a web of love and sanity he wove over these years that is a strong as steel, as beautiful in fractal complexity as a spider's handy work in the fall sunshine. He follows Kenneth Boulding and A.J. Muste into the corner of the galactic core reserved for the birthing of young stars and old Quakers.

Submitted by Professor Ben Wisner