UN observes International Day for Disaster Reduction

On 13 October 2014, the United Nations is observing the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR). The 2014 theme, "Resilience is for Life", focuses on older peoeple and disasters. Various organisations, groups and institutions around the world are celebrating IDDR.

This year the focus of the International Day for Disaster Reduction is on older people, including their needs and what they contribute to better planning and understanding of disaster risk in their communities. IDDR 2014 intends to to switch on and amplify this critical issue now and for the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.

The International Day for Disaster Reduction started in 1989 with the approval by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN General Assembly sees the IDDR as a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. Originally celebrated on the second Wednesday of October (resolution 44/236, 22 December 1989), the UN General Assembly decided to designate October 13th as the date to celebrate the IDDR (resolution 64/200, 21 December 2009).

On the occasion of IDDR 2014, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a message highlighting the relevance of including elderly people in disaster reduction: "When a natural disaster hits, older persons suffer disproportionately high levels of death and injuries. This tragic trend must be reversed through plans, services and support that ensure we address the vulnerabilities facing older persons while optimizing their contributions to our collective safety and wellbeing. On this International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, let us remind ourselves that building resilience to disasters has no time limit in one’s life; it starts in youth and grows more important as we age."