UN Chief Stresses Young People's Role in Coping with Disasters

October 14, 2011
Editor: Wang Yuxia

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon said on Thursday that disaster risk reduction should be a daily concern for everyone, especially for children and young people, as people are becoming more vulnerable to catastrophes worldwide.

In his message marking the International Day for Disaster Reduction which fell on Thursday this year, Ban highlighted human' s vulnerability in facing growing disasters and the vital role of children and young people in risk reduction.

"Vulnerability to disaster is growing faster than resilience," the secretary-general said, noting that over the past year, devastating floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, as well as nuclear safety and threat of multiple technological hazards have increased the risk for human safety.

This year's observance of the International Day for Disaster Reduction took place within the framework of the "step up for disaster risk reduction" campaign, with the theme of "making children and young people partners for disaster risk reduction."

An estimated 100 million children and young people are affected by reported disasters each year and thousands of them get killed or injured, making them the most vulnerable groups in facing disasters, said the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

In Nepal, schoolchildren are being taught the basics of building homes safely, while risk reduction and climate change adaptation activities involving children in Cuba are now being emulated in other parts of the world, Ban said.

"Around the world we have seen the evidence that young people are quick to respond to tragic events," said Margareta Wahlstrom, special representative of the secretary-general for disaster risk reduction and head of UNISDR, in a separate message.

"There is ample evidence that wherever young people are empowered with information and skills training, they are important actors in disaster management and have a keen eye for where risk can be reduced in the community," said Wahlstrom.

(Source: Xinhua)

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