Every year, thousands of people lose their lives and hundreds of millions lose their homes and livelihoods, due to disasters caused by natural hazards often combined with human vulnerability. Disasters cannot be prevented but communities can be better prepared so that they suffer less human and material losses, so that they can rebuild and recover faster and be more resilient.
The adoption of adequate preventive and mitigation measures in addition to good preparation, can make all the difference.
"Making Youth Partners for Disaster Risk Reduction" is the theme for International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in 2011. In times of disaster, youth are among the most traumatized as their ability to cope with unexpected and painful interruptions to their regular schedules is still not fully developed. Often, for instance, it is schools which are turned into emergency shelters, disrupting education for weeks. Youth are often involved in the disaster preparedness activities funded by the European Commission.
In 2010, the total investment in DRR operations has reached more than 35 million beneficiaries with funding of around €82 million. The actions included disaster preparedness action plans, DRR activities integrated into humanitarian response, drought preparedness in the Greater Horn of Africa, Sahel region, Bolivia, Djibouti and epidemic preparedness
Nevertheless, the construction of a disaster resilient society needs the joint commitment and the concerted effort of all stakeholders, be it governments, international organizations, donors, local authorities or civil society. It is important to focus efforts for recovery and reconstruction, to look to the future and to change things for the better.