IOM Boosts Asian Disaster Risk Reduction
Press Briefing Notes Friday 12th October 2012 Spokesperson: Jumbe Omari Jumbe
As the world marks the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (13/10), IOM has announced the start of a major Asian initiative to assist vulnerable communities to prepare for and reduce the risk of natural disasters.
The organization has received USD17 million, mainly from the USA and Australia, which will be used primarily for community-based disaster risk reduction, but also to build capacity in governments and national partners.
"People ask me why the IOM is getting involved in this area," says IOM's Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Andrew Bruce. "The answer is that our member states have asked us to get more involved in mitigation - if we can help people survive natural disasters, and reduce the damage done to their communities, then they won't become climate migrants."
All available evidence points to an increase in the frequency and intensity of disasters over the past decade, with that trend likely to continue. Being the home of the world's largest migrant population, and the continent most affected by natural disasters, Asia's migrants will be hardest hit.
IOM is working to ensure that they, and the communities they come from, are part of national and regional risk reduction strategies run by Asian governments.
"We are choosing today to spotlight our initiative as this is the day that brings together a plethora of partners and citizens who understand vulnerability and how to tackle it," says Bruce.
The Asia and Pacific region is at far greater peril from natural disasters than any other continent or region. Every year 200 million people are affected, over 70,000 killed, and close to USD 35 billion is lost in damage caused. Of those affected, 60 per cent are from the lowest income bracket, mostly earning less than a US dollar a day.
The funds will be spent in countries as diverse as Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. Programmes will include preparedness for earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and cyclones. Up to 200,000 people will benefit, potentially saving around USD 120 million in emergency aid.
For more information please go to : www.iom.int/jahia/Jahia/Pakistan
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