According the United Nation Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in 2014, the world is ageing. Globally, approximately 700 million people or 10 per cent of the world’s population is already over the age of 60, and by 2030, there will be more people over 60 than under 10. While this represents a triumph of development, the combination of more extreme climate and disaster events coupled with the failure to adapt DRR responses to the ageing demographic trend has the potential to increase older people’s vulnerability to risks and disasters. Yet, the specific requirements and strengths of older people are often not given appropriate consideration in DRR.
The theme for this year’s celebration is Older People in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
Charter 14 calls for an inclusive approach whereby DRR responds to older people:
- In need: Older people have specific requirements which must be understood and responded to within all DRR activities.
- Invisible: Older people’s vulnerabilities and capacities are often overlooked; the collection of data on people’s age and sex is essential to ensure older people and other people at risk are visible and supported in DRR.
- Invaluable: Older people have years of knowledge, skills and wisdom which are invaluable assets in DRR and must be acknowledged, valued and engaged by supporting older people to participate in DRR.
We observe that since the 2012 flood disaster and the aftermath of that unfortunate incident, genuine efforts have not been put in place to adequately the adverse effects of that flood which include but not limited to the completion and allocation of the Post flood Housing Estate claimed to have been built by the kogi state government. This has not been.
Despite the over N2BILLION realised by the state government either in cash or materials, there is very little evidence to show for such huge donations from governments, institutions and individuals.
There were no genuine efforts by the state government to address the effects of this disaster on the aged persons in line with the declarations of the United Nations on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
We also observe that despite the warning signs of like reoccurrence of the floods in the state, the government has continued to ask people to move to higher grounds without adequate measures put in place such as temporary camps to accommodate the prospective victims.
We call on the State government to live up to its constitutional responsibilities of providing welfare and security of the people by putting measures in place to avoid disaster that maybe witnessed as a result of flood and other natural and man- made risks.
We call on the government to also put in place adequate mechanisms to protect and enhance the welfare of affected aged persons as contained in this year’s International Day of Risk Reduction.
IDRIS MILIKI ABDUL HAMZA ALIYU