The management of risk of disasters is particularly urgent because island nation states and littoral countries have high population rates and these maritime regions are also very vulnerable to a variety of disasters. Since most countries along the Indian Ocean rim are relatively undeveloped, human toll and damage to infrastructure tend to be much higher. Moreover, natural disasters are linked to climate change impacts with increasing sea levels and water temperatures rising. These effects have a devastating effect on island states and coastal regions within the Indian Ocean which needs to be addressed.
Disaster Risk Management is an area of increasing interest to IORA Member States, which seek to address the threats posed by natural disasters (such as tsunamis) and manmade disasters (such as oil spills and marine pollution). Across the world, more than 200 million people are affected every year by droughts, floods, cyclones, earthquakes, fires and other hazards. Governments around the world have committed to take action to reduce disaster risks, and have adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action, a guideline to reduce vulnerabilities to natural hazards.
Disaster Risk Management is multidisciplinary, and involves the participation of a multitude of partners and stakeholders, including national governments, non-governmental organisations, regional and international cooperating partners, donors, civil society and the private sector. IORA is therefore in the process to encourage partnerships between institutions to strengthen the management of disasters and for the development of joint training programmes and regional insurance schemes. Research institutions are encouraged to develop mutually beneficial collaborative projects, to share their experiences and best practices and for enhancing the technical capacities within the region.
With a wide range of expertise and experience, IORA is considering strengthening these areas capabilities through collective Disaster Risk Management and enhanced regional mechanisms. Member States are considering what can be done jointly in the areas of early warning, disaster risk reduction and the establishment of regional response capabilities. This process is considering the establishment of a mechanism for humanitarian assistance and disaster management, creating a regional early warning system for natural calamities.
IORA places emphasis on knowledge sharing and capacity building for the creation of a culture of safety and resilience within the Indian Ocean region. Disasters can be substantially reduced if people are well informed of measures related to disaster prevention and resilience.