[dropcap font=”0″]T[/dropcap]he world we live in is now experiencing challenges unheard of before. One challenge affecting the world most is disasters, both man-made and natural. In fact, disaster risk reduction is a global concern which requires strategic planning and integration in all sectors, countries and communities. It is therefore important to realize that the reduction of disaster risks and their impacts is a shared responsibility.
Bearing this in mind, the world has designated 13 October as the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR). The objective of the observance of the day is to raise awareness of how people and communities can come together to reduce their risk to disasters.
It is time for all of us to awaken to the realization that our world is ageing. As United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon put it, there is no plan B as there is no planet B. His words highlights that we have to galvanize our action in response to disasters. We cannot leave anyone behind in this process. That is why IDDR this year has pointed out the need for a more inclusive approach for older people in disaster risk reduction and recognize the critical role they can play in building resilience through their experience and knowledge.
In any outbreak of disaster, older people are vulnerable to risks. This calls on us to reverse this tragedy and optimize the contributions of older people to early warning systems, social protection mechanisms, evacuation and emergency response plans and public awareness campaigns for our collective safety and wellbeing.
Senior citizens are older people but they still possess strengths and can serve the interests of their communities. We can count on their years of experience when it comes to disaster risk management and other planning and decision-making processes.
All in all, the word is old age does not mean inability.