World celebrates resilience and older people

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
SRSG, Margareta Wahlström speaking about Charter 14 earlier today to diplomats and government representatives in Geneva. The cake is to mark the 25th anniversary of International Day for Disaster Reduction.

SRSG, Margareta Wahlström speaking about Charter 14 earlier today to diplomats and government representatives in Geneva. The cake is to mark the 25th anniversary of International Day for Disaster Reduction.

GENEVA, October 13, 2014 - A tsunami of 4.5 million tweets rolled out across the world today in support of the 25th International Day for Disaster Reduction as UNISDR and HelpAge International joined forces to launch Charter 14 for Older Persons in Disaster Risk Reduction.

UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon said: “Disaster planning must take account of the reduced mobility experienced by many older persons…[Their] needs should also be taken into account in early warning systems, social protection mechanisms, evacuation and emergency response plans, and public awareness campaigns.”

Governments and civil society organizations were today urged to give their backing to Charter 14 and to ensure that older people are specifically mentioned in national disaster management and climate policies and their knowledge and experience are taken on board.

Charter 14’s Minimum Standards call for older people to be represented in DRR management and governance from the community to the national level “to ensure that their voice is heard.” 

Asia has responded in force to Charter 14. Bhutan, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam have already signed up. "Setting minimum standards for involving older persons in disaster risk management, is important to ensure that their needs are understood and fully met. The Government of Thailand is happy to commit to the implementation of these minimum standards and to sign up to the Charter 14 for a fully inclusive disaster risk management in our country" said Mr. Chatchai Phromlert, Director-General of Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Ministry of Interior from the Government of Thailand at a major event in Bangkok yesterday.

UNISDR head, Margareta Wahlström, today personally handed out copies of Charter 14 to diplomats and government representatives participating in consultations on the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction in Geneva. The new framework will be adopted at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, next March. She stressed that while people over 60 comprise 11% of the population today, they would outnumber children aged under ten by the year 2030.

Ms. Wahlström said as demographics change and older persons remain more active in their communities and improve their physical fitness, they should be seen not just as a vulnerable group but as an important resource to strengthen disaster risk reduction at community level.

At the same action, she said, action is needed to reduce the death toll among older persons in major disaster events even in developed countries.

It has been a long weekend of celebration in some parts of the world where International Day came early. Over 3,000 runners ran through the streets of Cairo on Friday in a resilience run and on the same day Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Steven Blaney, endorsed “The Resilience is For Life” theme of International Day and stated that resilience means the capacity of all citizens to cope and recover during an emergency.”

Minister Blaney recalled a number of recent tragedies including a fire at L’Isle-Verte seniors’ residence which claimed 32 lives, and said: “While all disasters cannot be prevented, we can strengthen the physical and social structures in our communities to reduce their impact, and improve our ability to recover from them.” Public Safety Canada will host the Fifth Annual Roundtable of Canada’s Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction on October 21 in Toronto.

Over 250 organizations, UN agencies, NGOs, businesses and individuals signed up to today’s Thunderclap announcement on the Twitter platform, calling for age inclusive disaster risk management. They reached 4.5 million followers, many of whom have re-tweeted the message to their followers.

All members of the disaster risk reduction community are encouraged to keep us posted on their events. We welcome photos, videos and stories about your efforts for our special web page:

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