Widespread natural disasters threaten development goals

This year in the Caribbean, as well as on the American mainland, hurricanes have left millions of people in need of assistance. In Puerto Rico, 3.4 million people have been scrambling for basic necessities, including food and water. Barbuda was rendered uninhabitable and Dominica was hit hard for the second year in a row.

Floods in Bangladesh, India and Nepal have affected some 40 million people. Twenty countries have also declared drought emergencies in the past 18 months, with major displacement taking place across the Horn of Africa.

In light of such impacts, and the growing influence of climate change which is increasingly exacerbating them, one conclusion is clear: sustainable development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will remain elusive or significantly delayed so long as hazards are left unchecked.

As outlined in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, we need to shift from managing disasters to preventing disasters by better managing existing risks. This means tackling risk drivers such as poverty, rapid urbanization, weak governance, the decline of ecosystems, desertification and climate change. These are all driving up disaster risk around the world.

[Inter Press Service]

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