By Wasi Md. Alam, M & E Officer – Disaster Management Unit, CARE India:
October 13 is a day to educate communities around the world on how they can prepare better for disasters, and reduce related risks. The 2017 theme is linked to the ‘Sendai Seven Campaign’, centred on the seven targets of the Sendai Framework. This year’s focus is ‘reducing the number of people affected by disasters by 2030’, with the theme, ‘Home Safe Home’.
The Disaster Reduction Checklist
- Have an Emergency Preparedness Plan in place at the community level/family level/workplace/schools.
- Establish an early warning system to ensure the most vulnerable people receive information and know what to do, where to go, and how to protect themselves.
- Keep multiple emergency kits ready, containing:
- plastic sheets
- battery-operated torch, extra batteries
- thick ropes and cords, knives
- chlorine tablets or powdered water purifiers
- battery-operated radio, whistles, candles, match boxes (in a water-proof pack)
- medicines, dry food items (packed and sealed), water, first aid kit,
- Gender-specific items such as sanitary napkins, baby diapers,
- identification cards such as voter ID cards/Aadhar cards, important documents related to property and bank accounts)These are to be kept in a water-proof bag, and all family members must know where the bag is kept. Check the items in the kit regularly for the date of expiry and the condition of the items, and replace any out-of-date supplies or medicines. Throw out any damaged medicines or pills that are wet or look or smell different due to moisture.
- Identify safe spots in the neighbourhood/adjacent villages/towns (community building, parks, playgrounds etc.) in case of an evacuation due to a disaster. Take shelter in houses and public/private infrastructures that are resilient to disasters such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes etc.
- Ensure housing structures are maintained/ repaired on a regular basis for continued safety.
- Authorities in disaster-prone areas have to ensure that essential infrastructures such as hospitals are made disaster resilient with assured basic services. Safe approach paths, water facilities, and power back-ups need to be intact and functioning during a disaster.
- Provide livelihoods opportunities, and where possible, help people to take charge of their own recovery/rehabilitation to build back in a safer manner.
- Provide disaster victims with cash support to purchase their own supplies, shelter materials, etc. rather than providing items in kind, which might not be appropriate.
- Gender-specific needs to be considered when designing and implementing the response, as disasters often affect men and women differently.