Most of country at risk of natural disasters: Expert

Webinar dwells on int’l cooperation for disaster reduction

Most of country at risk of natural disasters: Expert

A webinar in progress on the occasion of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction at Science City in Kapurthala.

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 13

Pushpa Gujral Science City celebrated International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction by organising a webinar. Hundred school students from all over Punjab participated in the webinar through virtual mode. The theme for this year’s celebration was “International cooperation for developing countries to reduce their disaster risk and disaster losses”.

Kunal Satyarthi, IFS, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, National Disaster Management Authority, New Delhi, was the keynote speaker on the occasion.

While addressing participants, he said, “Natural and human-caused disasters affect thousands of people each year. These can cause catastrophic loss of life and physical destruction, besides mental trauma. Earthquakes, severe storms, hurricanes, tornadoes and floods are the most common types of natural disasters. Others could be wildfires, droughts, cloudbursts and landslides. Examples of human-caused disasters include fires, industrial accidents, shootings, acts of terrorism, and incidents of mass violence.”

“Eighty per cent of the geographical area of India is vulnerable to cyclones, floods, tsunamis, droughts, landslides or earthquakes. Without real action on climate in the next 10 years, extreme weather events will be overwhelming, especially for developing countries,” he added. “International cooperation for developing countries through official development aid and capacity building is essential to boost disaster resilience in the face of extreme weather events and other natural and man-made hazards,” he said.

He emphasised upon making disaster management part of educational curriculum at all levels as well as the need to conduct frequent talks, seminars, training programmes and live drills for children and youth to combat disasters.

In her introductory remarks, Dr Neelima Jerath, Director General, Science City, said International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction was started in 1989 to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction.

“Disasters impact developing countries disproportionately, particularly in terms of mortality, numbers of people injured, displaced and rendered homeless, economic losses (as a percentage of GDP) and damage to critical infrastructure,” Dr Neelima added.

She stressed on the need to boost investments in disaster risk reduction to eradicate poverty and hunger in society and creation of scientific awareness on causes and actions required at the public level to ensure minimum loss to life and property and facilities made available by the government for the public in the event of a disaster.

While delivering vote of thanks on the occasion, Dr Rajesh Grover, Director, Science City, said nature-based solutions, such as conserving forests, wetlands and coral reefs, could help communities prepare for, cope with, and recover from disasters, including slow-onset events such as drought.

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