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International Day for Disaster Reduction 2020: Statement by Secretary General Ingo Radtke

Malteser International in Myanmar engages local communities in coastal regions to restore degraded mangrove ecosystems. Photo: Malteser International

“Every year, weather extremes such as droughts, tropical cyclones or floods cause great human suffering. As a result of climate change, these disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe. However, the COVID-19 pandemic remains a stark reminder for us all of how important it is to be prepared in the event of a disaster. Our priority is to help ensure that the most vulnerable population groups such as persons with disabilities, the elderly, and marginalized communities are protected when disasters occur. It is not enough to provide rapid assistance after disasters. We must work more precisely to identify risks in advance.

“Malteser International is devoted to promoting and supporting development solutions that strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities towards disasters.

“In northern Colombia, we have worked to establish early warning systems that protect villages from forest fires. Trained fire brigades understand how to contain forest fires until the fire department arrives.

“In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malteser International’s teams organize trainings on infection prevention and control for local health personnel.

“In the coastal region of Myanmar, a region regularly affected by cyclones and storm surges, Malteser International integrates disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and ecosystem management. The organizations community-based and inclusive emergency plans, first aid training and evacuation drills have helped protect many people against disasters. With support from Malteser International, coastal communities are also reforesting mangroves to prevent flooding.”

Held each October 13, the world commemorates the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction – designated 28 years ago by the United Nations General Assembly – to promote actions aimed at preventing, mitigating, responding, and recovering from the impacts of disasters on people's lives and well-being, resulting in increasingly resilient communities and nations, better prepared to face crises.

Media contact:
Katharina Kiecol
+49 (0) 221 9822 7181


Katharina Kiecol
Email: katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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