How the Youth Contribute to Disaster Risk Reduction

Sam Johnson at the PrepCommittee meeting in Geneva for the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

Sam Johnson at the PrepCommittee meeting in Geneva for the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, 2014. Photo used with permission.

Disaster Risk Reduction has become a global issue and a threat to the development of every nation across the globe. The challenge lies in the mobilisation and availability of resources to identify, manage and prevent disasters. The youth are seen as valuable resource to use in times of disasters.

For example, during the Chirst Church earthquake that killed about 185 people in New Zealand's second largest city, a young man named Sam Johnson, founder of UC Student Volunteer Army, mobilised an army of youth volunteers to provide support to the affected people.

His Volunteer Army Foundation now has more than 8,000 members, according to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). He plans to expand the model to create a global youth movement.

Many young people across the globe have been advocating for the inclusion of the youth in high-level disaster risk reduction (DRR) discussions. Some young people from Sub-Saharan Africa took to Twitter using the hashtag #AfricanYouthDRR to emphasis the need to include youth in DRR related issues. 

For example, during rainy season in Senegal, many parents are afraid that their children are bound to suffer from diseases like diarrhea, malaria or cholera and this because they cannot afford medication or services of a doctor according to Deutsche Welle (DW)

Esther Kelechi Agbarakwe (@estherclimate), a social entrepreneur and founder of @devnovate from Nigeria, commented:

Climate Wednesday (@ClimateWed) suggested:

Alfred Agyabeng (@OkatsieGH), the executive director of Reach Out to Future Leaders Movement in Ghana, stressed:

According to The Chronicle, effects of climate change have implications for food and nutritional security, public health, and energy security, among other things. Many organizations globally are studying the effects and trying to come up with solutions to the myriad problems they pose to production, consumption and environmental sustainability. Without a doubt, climate change is a huge developmental challenge.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) says that no continent will be as severely affected by climate change as Africa. Know Climate Change notes that Africa's vulnerability to climate change is worsened by its poor state of economic development and low adaptive capacity.

Frederick E. Fussi (@Fussi2015), a management and leadership expert from Tanzania, pointed out:

OAfrica reports that only 10% of African youth aged 15-24 years have five or more years of online experience.

Despite Africa being the most youthful continent, most youths on the continent lack access to resources.

At the just ended 5th Africa Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, a group of young people presented a statement on youth inclusion in DRR-related discussions to the gathering of policy makers and ministers of states in Abuja, Nigeria.

Some organizations applauded the efforts of young people to have been well presented at such high level discussion platform. UKCDS (@UKCDS), a group of 14 UK government departments and research funders concerned with international development, tweeted at me:

1 comment

  • […] When it comes to disasters, children and youth are among the most vulnerable affected groups. Natural hazards endanger their personal development perspectives critically. They are in danger when the hazard occurs, intensively affected in its direct aftermath, and even more, in the long-term as the disaster strikes at a critical stage of human development. The young are extremely vulnerable to disasters, but they are also key for reducing disaster risk! […]

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