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Towards a resilient future in commemoration of International Day of Disaster Reduction

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This day presents a huge opportunity to draw global atTowards a resilient future in commemoration on International Day of Disaster Reduction every13th October

This day presents a huge opportunity to draw global attention to the impact that disasters have on the lives of people and communities. This year, the attention of the world is drawn to the importance of resilience of communities to disaster with the focus on the Sendai target: to reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services.

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) estimates a $665 billion direct economic loss globally in the last three years as a result of disaster. This could be considerably more as this figure represents a loss to insured items majorly in high-income countries and does not capture the extent of the economic loss in low and middle-income countries. The loss of lives as a result of disaster also remains alarmingly high.

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The damage caused by disaster can be prevented if communities are risk aware and informed and infrastructure are built to be resilient. Given the extent of damage and loss of lives, it is essential that life-saving utilities can remain functional in the times of disaster. This will significantly reduce the number of lives lost and will ensure that communities are better able to withstand the shock of a disaster and quickly rebuild.

Proper planning, enforcement of building codes and communities adhering to proper building practices are key ways to protect critical infrastructure and reduce the incidence of loss of lives. With flooding said to account for 47% of all weather-related disasters globally, some reports estimate that 80% of the Nigerian population are at-risk.

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Since 2018, Christian Aid, an international development/humanitarian agency through funding from the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) has been supporting 27 communities in Benue, Kaduna and Plateau states to become better positioned to protect their environment from the risk of flooding. With increased knowledge and improved attitudes and skills, these communities have started taking proactive steps to ensure that they protect lives and property from the damage caused by flooding.

Through its pioneer Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project, ‘Improving Early Warning and Early Response Systems to Strengthen Disaster Preparedness in Nigeria’s Middle Belt (E4E)’, Christian Aid has created community awareness about practices that could lead to flooding, employing a mix of strategies to ensure that the attitudes and behaviours of communities towards these risks change. The community-driven approach towards preventing destruction to infrastructure, their environment and the loss of lives has seen community members of all ages, social and economic status make efforts to change the course of their future by building resilience of their communities against flooding.

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Christian Aid joins the world to celebrate the communities who are taking their development into their hands by reducing their exposure to disasters. The government at Federal and State levels have their part to play to ensure that communities are resilient in the face of disaster, and we call on them to make risk-informed investments for a better future.

Temitope Fashola
Programme Manager, Governance and Gender
Christian Aid Nigeria

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