Monday, December 2, 2013

Tunisia’s database a ‘game-changer’ for disaster risk reduction

A press release from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction: Tunisia has taken an important step to strengthen its national disaster management with the establishment of a new disaster loss database  The database was validated at a major disaster risk reduction forum that also saw 120 practitioners and policymakers recommend that the post-2015 international framework for disaster risk reduction be a more accountable and legally binding charter or convention with funding attached for its implementation.

The new database includes previously unreported localized (known as extensive) disasters as well as the more widely reported, bigger disasters (known as intensive).  The comprehensive nature of the database will enable Tunisia to analyse disaster trends and their impacts in a systematic way. It will also act as a baseline against which the effectiveness of risk reduction initiatives can be judged.

Tunisia’s Secretary of State at the Ministry of Equipment and Environment, Mr. Sadok El-Amri, hailed the achievement. “These disaster losses are a real threat to our sustainable development and a game-changer. We have to do more to reduce risks and make our country more resilient against current and future hazardous events and catastrophes,” he said.

Over the past 30 years Tunisia has experienced 2,495 disasters that caused 1,075 deaths, with assessed economic losses of US$ 756 million. The disasters destroyed 17,821 houses and damaged another 24,728.

“The database now enables the true impact of disaster to be known. This is major progress indeed,” said Mr. Lars Bernd, UNISDR Regional Programme Officer. “Previously, the international EM-DAT database had only recorded 20 natural disasters for Tunisia since 1900. The new national database reveals that disaster losses are much more higher than previously thought.”...

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