It takes many groups of people to come together, with a shared mission, purpose and good governance, to avoid a disaster.
To avoid a disaster requires a mindset, an approach, and a drive to undertake coordinated action - which need not “cost the Earth” - from diverse groups of people. Those in local communities who willingly give their time as volunteers to support people should be supported with the right resources and, when appropriate, training. NGOs and charities provide crucial support, and they should be recognised for their work. Many businesses provide expertise and resources - and there is scope for more to do so. Scientists and academics provide research results that can be applied to the development of solutions. Think tanks, philanthropic organisations, and governments provide research and funds. Policy makers and advisors at the national and international level can unlock finances and resources. Linking all the actions by different groups contributes to greater transparency, which, coupled with good communications and engagement contribute to a shared objective.
Here are a few examples we are seeing of people working together to achieve good outcomes:
1. Taking action to avoid wildfire disasters in Australia
In Australia, efforts to avoid wildfire disasters are being undertaken in a coordinated way by many people, including national (federal) government (providing policy, funding and general support), Royal Commissions (providing recommendations for action), state governments (providing state-level support), local authorities (with local engagement), state Rural Fire Services (specialists in fire management), supporting national agencies such as CSIRO, the Australian Institute of Disaster Resilience and the Australasia Fire Advisory Council (for scientific research and solutions), academic institutions around the country, businesses and insurers (providing solutions to prevent disasters in various ways), charitable foundations (providing finances), the media (helping to showcase examples), indigenous communities and experts (for example, on land management) and local communities and people (who take direct action to avoid disasters in their local areas).
2. Taking action to avoid flooding disasters in Viet Nam
Viet Nam experiences floods every year. The country’s coastline is 3,200km long and almost 12 million people in coastal provinces are exposed to flooding: over a third of settlements are located on eroding coastlines. In an example of different groups combining together to achieve valuable outcomes, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Green Climate Fund are working with other groups of people on a UNDP Viet Nam / Green Climate Fund (GCF) project, a 5-year resilience endeavour on the country’s mid-coast to provide 4,000 flood-resilient houses and plant coastal mangroves to deal with storm surges. The project is succeeding because different groups of people have come together for a common cause.
3. Taking action to avoid heat disasters in India
In 2021 The Lancet estimated that, globally, between 300,000 and 730,000 deaths a year are related to heat, with India being especially affected. Urbanisation has reduced vegetation and natural water areas; human-made structures trap heat which adds to the problem. The economic impact of heat in India is estimated at $171-212 billion per year. Outdoors workers (a large proportion of India’s workforce) are particularly impacted. The city of Hyderabad (population 9-10 million) is taking action by working with many groups of people to avoid a heat related disaster. Analysis using satellite data from Landsat shows the locations most affected by the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. Telangana Ku Haritha Haram (TKHH) is a tree planting program by the state of Telangana (which contains Hyderabad) in place since 2015. Ponds and lakes are being revived and improved in part to combat the UHI. Actions are also being taken to improve air quality, since air pollution is exacerbated by heat.
Stay tuned for some supporting information to be added here soon about the way many people come together to avoid disasters:
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