Afriquenvironnementplus-Natural disasters: the Congolese people are challenged to build solidarity and climate resilient communities
Reducing disaster risk is a global challenge. Which is why the international community instituted the International Day for Risk Reduction, celebrated every 13 October. In the Congo, the government, through Ms. Arlette Soudan-Nonault, Minister of Tourism and Environment made a statement to mark the Day.
This day instituted by the United Nations in 1989 will be observed under the theme: “Reducing disaster damage to infrastructure and basic services”. The aim of this yearly celebration is to raise awareness among stakeholders including the leadership and populations, on the need to reduce disaster risk.
This is a means for the international community, through the world’s governments, including the Congo’s, to use this awareness-raising effort, to “strengthen the resilience of communities by improving understanding of the disasters they face and preparing suitable responses to various types of situations” said Ms. Arlette Soudan-Nonault, Minister of Tourism and Environment.
In the view of the Minister of Tourism and Environment, “this year’s theme challenges us in more ways than one as recurrent natural disasters caused by tsunamis, cyclones, hurricanes and heavy downpours are exacerbated by climate change”. She also underscored the devastating impact these disasters have on people: “The natural disasters the world faced in 2018 caused an estimated USD 150billion in economic losses and human toll of 11,000deaths”
Population’s health under permanent threat
In addition to the loss of human lives and damage to infrastructure, natural disasters also cause precarious access to health care. “The destruction of vital infrastructure during a disaster makes access to health services and socio-economic recovery difficult for affected populations, leaving them completely destitute, with long-lasting negative impacts” said Ms. Arlette Soudan-Nonault.
For example, Hurricane Idai which ravaged Mozambique and Zimbabwe at the beginning of the year destroyed close to 90% of the infrastructure of the city of Beira in Mozambique and claimed thousands of lives, noted the statement.
There is also a crucial need to strengthen the resilience of both communities and infrastructure in the face of such devastating phenomena so as to minimize their impact and thus ensure the sustainable development of our societies.
The Congo is not exempt...
Aware of the vulnerability of most Central African countries, including the Republic of the Congo, the government through the Minister of Tourism and Environment, acknowledges that the damage caused by torrential rains in several districts in the Congo in recent years has led to erosions in urban centers, and floods, landslides and silting in some neighborhoods.
The issue of disaster risk reduction is a challenge for all, at all levels and for all players in the national arena.
The 8th Central African Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, held from 30 September to 4 October 2019 in Kinshasa (DRC), at which the Congo was represented by its Minister of Tourism and Environment, was an opportunity for the member countries to review the implementation of the Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction and strengthen our vision and synergies in this area.