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ECOSOC Meeting on the transition from relief to development following natural disasters. New York 28th February 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "ECOSOC Meeting on the transition from relief to development following natural disasters. New York 28th February 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 ECOSOC Meeting on the transition from relief to development following natural disasters. New York 28th February 2005

2 The Indian Ocean Tsunami: Effects
In a matter of minutes the tsunami that surged across the Indian Ocean on 26 December 2004 had taken hundreds of thousands of lives and destroyed the livelihoods of many more. It will take years to rebuild what the tsunami destroyed. But in a stroke, it also opened our eyes to a human condition. Around the world, poor people live fundamentally insecure lives. Exposed to hazards like floods, landslides, storms, droughts or earthquakes, living in the most exposed and dangerous environments, without resilience, vulnerable communities have little means of protecting themselves against the impact of disaster. The many, and increasingly frequent, “minor emergencies” that go unnoticed by international media are a daily reality for the disadvantaged somewhere around the globe. The Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunami has further given credence to the statement that 'disasters are a humanitarian and a development concern'. Evidence suggests that measures to mitigate the impacts of hazards - such as early warning systems coastal protection, seismic monitoring and typhoon shelters - have contributed to reducing the numbers of people killed, so called 'natural' disasters are affecting an increasing number of people. Badly managed development, environmental degradation, poor governance and a lack of respect for human rights have actually conspired to increase the numbers of vulnerable and impoverished people living at risk. There is now wide recognition that disasters’ impact on all aspects of development undermining efforts to achieve the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. The Second World Conference on Disaster Reduction, held in Kobe, emphasized the need to put disaster risk reduction at the centre of political agendas and national policies. The International Federation has in-turn committed to a strategy to reduce disaster risk – by building community resilience – through preparedness, response activities, recovery, development, mitigation, education, advocacy and partnerships. Why are we advocating support at community level? 5 reasons: 1. Successful disaster mitigation, response and recovery are based on local skills, resources and courage Local teams in Bam saved 7 times more lives than international teams. 2. Conversely, top-down approaches can create dependency In Argentina, state welfare and unfulfilled promises sapped the resolve of flood-affected people. 3. Communities at risk are often poorly protected by their governments European governments failed to protect people from a deadly heat wave. And urban municipalities increase risks by branding slum dwellers 'illegal'. So building resilience among communities will protect people now and may exert pressure on authorities to take risk reduction more seriously. 4. Community-led approaches – based on local people's priorities and capacities – are more likely to be self-sustaining In Andhra Pradesh, selling indigenous seeds has developed into an annual Biodiversity Festival, celebrating traditional farming across 65 villages. Individuals affected by AIDS or heat waves can cope far better if the community responds collectively to the threat. 5. Disasters getting more complex, demanding action across many sectors Catastrophic mortality from AIDS and other diseases blurs the boundary between disaster and development. So coalitions of communities, aid organizations and governments must combine the urgency of humanitarian response with the longer-term, integrated approach of development.

3 More disasters – more affected
Since 1970s: ‘Natural’ disasters nearly 3 X as many Deaths drop 70% Numbers affected more than triple Source: Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, Belgium (CRED) Natural disasters are soaring worldwide, affecting ever more people Our source, CRED, defines a disaster as an emergency in which more than 10 people are reported killed or 100 are reported affected. In the 1970s, 1,110 natural disasters were reported. Over the last decade ( ), this nearly tripled to 3,055 disaster events. This data does not include technological disasters, conflicts or outbreaks of disease. Over the same period, the number of people affected has more than tripled, from 740 million in the 1970s to over 2.5 billion in the past decade ( ). But most surprising of all, deaths are dropping The number of people killed by natural disasters has plunged from nearly 2 million in the 1970s to 580,000 over the past decade ( ) – a drop of 70% When we calculate the number of deaths per reported disaster, the figure drops a staggering 9 times since the 1970s.

4 Why? Population growth: 70 m more people each year
Rapid and unplanned urbanization, environmental degradation, misguided development, poverty Disasters disproportionally affect slum dwellers: poorest live in unfit places, seen as illegal, without services Disasters set back progress and growth = a vicious spiral Response is rapid and more coordinated, but does it capture real needs? Can it undermine capacity? What are the reasons behind this data? Every year, the planet's population grows by 70 million people, potentially living in harm’s way. Many pour into unplanned urban slums, where risks are concentrated. Pressure on land is increasing environmental degradation, such as deforestation of hillsides and coastlines. The poorest suffer most as they live in marginal, dangerous areas. But if more disasters are striking, WHY are fewer people dying? Is it thanks to better international disaster relief? To some extent, yes. Or better disaster reduction by governments? Yes, that too. But to what degree is it because people living in communities at risk are coping with disasters better than before? Perhaps more than many of us may think. We need to find out more about their coping capacities The international disaster community has invested considerable resources into analysing hazards, risks and vulnerability. But we have spent far less effort analysing the capacities and strengths of people living in the path of disaster. How do they cope? How do they recover and bounce back? What makes them resilient? This year's Report addresses these questions by telling the stories of people around the world who have coped with disasters and recovered. Their stories help us understand what increases – and undermines – community resilience.

5 RC challenges from disaster response to development
IFRC and NS – disasters are not an “event” but are one part of a continuum. DP and DR non enough The cycle of activities link together to create a holistic approach to risk reduction. International support should reinforce local, national and regional capacities at each of these parts of the cycle.

6 Development of the RC capacity to influence risk reduction
Disaster Preparedness: The selection, training and equipping of national, regional and international responders (RDRT,FACT and ERU teams). The implementation of community-based disaster awareness, preparedness and response training and programmes. Disaster Response: Rapid, well-coordinated deployment of the above. Close coordination on the disaster site with the government authorities, UN(UNDAC), and other actors. Recovery: Early RC assessments and the preparation of recovery/rehabilitation & development strategies. Reconstruction of health housing, social, and educational facilities. Mitigation: Implementation of community and NS projects supporting risk reduction. Mangrove project. Development: can be a factor of risk (lack of plans, regulations, inequalities, lack of preparedness and prevention) – Tsunami early-warning, heat wave in Europe. RC involvement in national disaster planning. Vulnerability to disasters determined by physical, environmental, make programmes more 'risk aware'

7 Iran: local response most effective
34 international teams saved 22 lives Iranian Red Crescent teams saved 157 lives, neighbours 100s. Cost of a 6-day foreign mission v 2 year's local training? Lesson: Build on national preparedness, local capacities and courage Training local people in disaster preparedness helped save hundreds of lives in Iran The massive earthquake which shook the Iranian town of Bam in December 2003 was one of the deadliest disasters of the year. Around 30,000 people were killed and another 30,000 wounded. Within 2 days, 34 international search and rescue teams had flown in with dozens of sniffer dogs, saving 22 people. Meanwhile, a handful of local Red Crescent teams deployed within minutes of the disaster, with just 10 sniffer dogs. They saved 157 lives. A 2-year training programme for 3 Iranian dogs and their handlers costs US$ 50,000 – about the same as it costs to deploy a 6-day search and rescue mission from Europe to Iran (comprising 6 people with 5 dogs). Preparedness also means knowing what to do and when. After an initial tremor, Mahmud Ranjbar, a Red Crescent volunteer, phoned 25 families to warn them to evacuate their houses – saving about 100 people, before the fatal quake claimed his life. The lessons from Bam are that – During sudden disasters, where every second counts, well-prepared local teams can save more lives than international rescuers. Community resilience includes the ability to anticipate disasters and react quickly and effectively as they strike. So aid organisations should build on the capacities of local people, through committing more resources, training and equipment to disaster-prone areas – before disaster strikes.

8 Europe’s heat wave: deadliest disaster
Summer 2003: up to 35,000 people died Inadequate awareness and preparation. Heat waves trigger silent disasters, affecting elderly Lessons: Assess ‘new’ vulnerabilities Community contact and preparedness increase coping 2003's deadliest disaster was the August heat wave in Western Europe – their hottest summer for 500 years. Between 22,000-35,000 people died as a direct result of excess heat. In France, where 15,000 people lost their lives, two thirds were in healthcare institutions or retirement homes. Meanwhile, in the US, the death toll from heat waves is higher than that from tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods combined. So why are authorities so poorly prepared? One reason is that heat waves trigger silent, invisible disasters, so few people are aware of the dangers. Cuts in government health provision and care homes have left communities badly exposed. The elderly in urban areas are worst affected, as they are often physically weak, poor and shut out of sight by individualistic societies. So heat wave deaths are driven more by social marginalisation, poverty and retreating state welfare than by climate change. The lessons from Europe’s heat wave are that – The elderly are very vulnerable to extreme temperatures. But better preparedness at community level can improve their resilience. Simple measures – such as advance warning or teaching people to wrap up in cold, wet towels and drink plenty of fluids – can prove lifesaving. Encouraging more social contact is vital. Less people died in southern Europe, where the elderly are more integrated into family life. A fundamental change in attitudes to the elderly is needed.

9 Mangrove rehabilitation in Vietnam
Tropical cyclones caused lost livelihood resources in costal communities Mangrove ecosystem rehabilitation – communities and RC plant and protect mangrove forest ( hectares) In 2000 typhoon Wukong devastated Vietnam, project areas were protected Benefit to 8000 families.

10 Self-reliance in the south-west Pacific
In 2001 Papua-New Guinea (PNG) Red Cross initiated a Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) on Manam Island. Only 11% of islanders were aware of the risks facing them and just 6 % knew about resources available to deal with those risks. Over half were aware of escape routes and pickup points No one knew what the government’s evacuation plan entailed Based on the VCA, the PNG-RC began a community-based self-reliance (CBSR) project Its aim is to boost islanders’ faith in their own resourcefulness to reduce risks

11 Key policy objectives. Relief Recovery & Development are not isolated, together they should: Lead to rehabilitation of more resistant livelihoods. Provide integrated planning that consults with & involves communities and eases the transition from relief to development. Be people-centered, enhance local capacities, use local materials and resources for recovery and development and provide models that can improve disaster management; Do not inadvertently reinforce tensions or conflict but contribute to reconciliation and harmony. Contribute to more systematic and proactive coordination through joint assessments, planning and information exchange. Promote solutions to root causes, better linkage and understanding with donor funding for the continuum.

12 Focus on capacities, as well as needs
Dispel myth of helpless victims Avoid top-down interventions Assess local strengths and priorities – not just vulnerabilities and needs Build on the resources and resilience found in the community To conclude: We are calling for the humanitarian and disaster communities to re-orientate their aid towards strengthening the capacities and resilience of people on the frontline of disaster. We've seen that disaster-affected people are not all helpless victims – despite the myths often propagated by the media and some aid agency PR material. Equally, we've seen that top-down interventions can be less effective than local responses – and may even undermine resilience. So why does the disaster community still concentrate on assessing hazards, needs and vulnerabilities – without giving equal attention to the capacities and knowledge of communities at risk? Our message is not new – for 10 years, the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief has been calling for agencies to build their responses on local capacities. It is an indictment of the humanitarian and disaster community that we – collectively – have not sufficiently responded to this call. If we, as outsiders, cannot understand people's capacities and build on them, then we perpetuate the idea that ‘we know best’ and that only ‘risk’ matters. We thereby ignore the most important resource that exists in managing risk and disaster: people’s own strategies to cope and adapt. Thank you.

13 Tsunami: Challenges & Opportunities
For the Red Cross/Red Crescent, the tsunami was a call for action. With the overwhelming generosity of the global community, we were given the possibility not only to meet the immediate needs for survival, protection and early recovery of the tsunami affected populations, but also to help them restore their shattered lives and livelihoods. We were also given a new opportunity, the means to address the predicament of vulnerable communities throughout the wider region of the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia and South Asia & E. Africa. It is a unique opportunity not only to meet the immediate needs of the affected population but to take forward the global commitment made at the Kobe World Conference on Disaster Reduction 2005, to work with communities, governments, the United Nations and NGOs to build a culture of disaster resilience. To play an effective role, the challenge for the RC/RC is to complement its local level immediate relief support and development programmes with a greater emphasis on public education and advocacy to create platforms for the voices of the vulnerable that will influence appropriate changes to policies and practices of institutions in their favour. Accountability, stewardship and transparency will be combined with well-coordinated partnerships with the UN, governments and communities.

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