Doha: (Agencies: 17/6/2009): The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has issued its annual publication of ‘The World Disasters Report which has focused this year on ‘Early Warning & Early Action’.
Each year the Report takes an in-depth look at specific aspects of disasters, with this year’s Report focusing on the need for developing an "Early Warning, Early Action" approach that would protect people from disasters.
The Qatari Red Crescent Society, a member of the Federation, launched the report in a press conference in Doha yesterday (Wednesday, 17th June 2009).
Reviewing the report, Mr. Khalid Ghanim al-Ali, the executive director of the Qatari Red Crescent said that the Report is a major step forward in developing a comprehensive understanding and workable set of solutions for the growing challenge of disasters. He added that with the right kind of support many communities could avoid the vast numbers of deaths that often result from disasters.
And, the Report also highlights the high financial costs of disasters, with evidence indicating that it costs four times as much to deal with disasters after they happen, than to put the measures in place to protect people and property beforehand.
The Report emphasizes the catastrophic impact of the changing climate on many countries and especially those in Africa and elsewhere where people are already poor and living on marginal incomes. However, it also points out the need for disaster preparation closer to home, noting, for example, that in the Mediterranean there is currently no tsunami early-warning alert system even though this region, with 140 million people living along its coastline, is considered more vulnerable to a tsunami than the Indian Ocean which produced the major tsunami of December 2004.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies aims to inform donors about disasters so that funds will be made available for preparing contingency plans and updating emergency stocks in strategic locations.
The Report documents the positive results seen in some communities which have been helped to take very real and practical measures to counter possible disasters and notes that such success is based on engagement with the communities at risk and application of systems that are technologically and culturally relevant.