Nairobi joins the World Disaster Reduction Campaign

NAIROBI 15 Oct 2010-- Nairobi is the latest city to join the World Disaster Reduction Campaign “Making Cities Resilient - My city is getting ready!”

The signing in ceremony was led by Pedro Basabe, Head of the UNISDR Regional Office for Africa and it took place on 13 October during the celebration of International Day for Disaster Reduction at the Korogocho informal settlements.

“When I think of what our cities present-- the diverse culture, tourism attractions sites and development opportunities, I am encouraged to organize, coordinate, plan, as well as budget for financial incentives to build safe structures and building, create more awareness and reduce risk,” said His Worship the Mayor, Geoffrey Majiwa. Almost half of the Kenya's capital city Nairobi’s population lives in over 100 informal settlements within the city. Nairobi has some of the most dense, unsanitary and insecure informal settlements in the world, according to the UNHabitat.

“Cities, though, are also high-risk areas because of their very rapid growth. Many governments, even with the best of intentions, cannot keep up with the enormous growth and pressure on infrastructure.” said Margareta Wahlstrom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The event was attended by the Hon. Esther Murugi, Minister of State for Special Programmes, Andrew Mondoh, the Permanent Secretary, Alfredo Teixeira, UN Deputy Country Director, Col (Rtd.) V.L. Anami, Director of National Disaster Operations Centre, Dr. James Kisia, Deputy Secretary General, Kenya Red Cross, and representation from UNHabitat and UNOCHA.

“We must press on, invest more, build more capacity and create awareness to protect those who have put us in the position of change,” said Hon. Murugi.

The Kenya government through the Ministry of State for Special Programmes developed the National Policy for Disaster Management in Kenya and National Disaster Response Plan to guide disaster risk reduction. One of the challenges to initiate disaster risk reduction programmes and activities is that the impacts of natural and man-made hazards are little understood, and have not received much attention. This has left a large population of Nairobi vulnerable to both natural and man-made disasters.

These include fire, floods, technological accidents, diseases and epidemics that disrupt people’s livelihoods, destroy the infrastructure, divert planned use of resources, interrupt economic activities and retard development. “The risk of disaster quietly accumulates. And, while natural hazards menace everyone, the poor are by far the most vulnerable.” Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General said, in his International Day statement.

The World Disaster Reduction Campaign “Making Cities Resilient” addresses issues of local governance and urban risk while drawing upon previous UNISDR Campaigns on safer schools and hospitals, as well as on sustainable urbanization principles developed in the UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign 2009-2013.
The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in 2015 The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in 2015.
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