By Naseem Sahar, Norwegian Red Cross
The Afghan Red Crescent Society, in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) recently launched the IFRC’s World Disasters Report in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The World Disasters Report 2016 – Resilience: Saving lives today, investing for tomorrow provides research and evidence that highlights the need for increased investment in building community resilience and the localization of aid, to safeguard vulnerable communities from disasters and crises.
In Afghanistan, the increasing complexity of the armed conflict situation and worsening natural disasters remain a serious concern in the country, which has a population of over 30 million people. In 2015 alone, over 120,000 were affected by natural disasters.
“Despite these numbers, of the 3.3 trillion US Dollars spent on international aid finance between 1991 and 2010, just 0.4 per cent was spent on risk reduction,” said Ariel Kestens, the IFRC Head of Country Office in Afghanistan, during his speech to a gathering of humanitarian actors, government officials, civil organizations and the media.
“Enhancing resilience is an investment for the future and wellbeing of vulnerable communities, and this includes early warning, preparedness and risk reduction activities.”
Based on the report’s findings, economic losses due to extreme weather events around the world have increased exponentially, but the financial investment is not happening quickly enough. Currently, around two-thirds of disaster spending occurs after a disaster.
“I ask the international community to rethink their spending mechanism. One way is to spend two-thirds on the reduction of disasters or its effects and one-third on response after disasters instead of the mechanism used now,” said Wais Barmak, State Minister for Disaster Management and Human Affairs.
“Building resilience starts with local communities and requires partnerships between different organizations,” he added.
Professor Lutfullah Safi, a lecturer of the Environmental Sciences Faculty and the Head of Environment and Disaster Management Department in Kabul University, believes that organisations that work in the humanitarian field require relevant policies, plans, specialists and an accountable government to have the desired results.
“Humanitarian organizations need to work in close coordination with one another, as building community resilience and strengthening preparedness measures against future disasters can be a long road to travel,” he said.
About the report:
The World Disasters Report is an annual independent publication commissioned by the IFRC, contributing evidence-based research on the challenges, trends and innovations in disaster risk reduction and crisis management. The report is an important body of research, which builds on discussions at the 2015 UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, and the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. It makes a direct contribution to next year’s World Humanitarian Summit where the localization of aid is one of the key thematic areas of focus.
Click here to learn more about the IFRC’s World Disasters Report 2016 and to download a copy.