We’ve all been affected by the images that flood our social media feeds. The piles of debris and broken cement, the children covered in dust and crying out, the crowds of people on the street who appear lost, confused, in utter shock. In this month alone more communities across the globe, from South Korea to Haiti, have been torn apart by natural disasters.
Our reactions have become automatic. Donations from around the world pour in, medical, food, and water supplies are sent. First responders, doctors, nurses, social aid workers, and volunteers move quickly on the ground to save lives. Once the dust has settled; teams of developers, construction workers, disaster specialists, and environmentalists pick up the broken pieces to help communities rebuild. But, the loss of lives and damage is often overwhelming, making our actions also often a little too little.
As news of natural disasters fade away, we forget that these communities will never be the same. Homes they’ve raised their children in, crops they’ve spent months in the field growing, access to food and clean water that took them hours to collect before the disaster struck are gone. It can take years for communities to recover from the losses of mere seconds or hours.
From the earthquakes in Ecuador to the forest fires in Canada, (not including the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew) as of August this year’s natural disasters have cost the global economy 71 billion U.S. Dollars. Imagine if we used that money to build stronger communities that can withstand the risks of a natural disaster, before the next disaster strikes?
The UN has designated October 13th as International Day for Disaster Reduction to encourage every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities. Instead of taking action as a disaster strikes, we have the ability to build stronger communities that can flourish in the face of a natural disaster and the power to raise awareness about reducing the risks they face. According to the UN,
Resilience is about anticipating, planning, and reducing disaster risk to effectively protect persons, communities and countries, their livelihoods, health, cultural heritage, socio-economic assets and ecosystems.
Here at the GoAbroad Foundation, we’ve created programs to support sustainable initiatives we believe will help build more disaster resilient communities. It’s our mission to strengthen global communities in need and help them face any situation they are confronted with.
What are some actions you can take now to build a more disaster resilient community?
- Create Sustainable Food Sources – By providing communities with reliable and long-lasting resources, families won’t be left to starve in the face of a natural disaster. Rather than waiting for international aid to be delivered, communities will already have the food supplies on hand to stay nourished and bounce back faster. Learn about how you can contribute to our rice subsidy program in the Philippines, and help create a dependable food source for families in flood prone areas.
- Build Stronger Homes – The earthquake that struck Ecuador in April was considered by Fox News to be “the worst natural disaster in decades, killing 663 people and leaving nearly 29,000 homeless.” Families and communities are still struggling for new homes to be rebuilt. Rather than sitting back and watching families lose their entire lives to a natural disaster, we need to take action and develop disaster resilient homes now. See how you can help families build a long-lasting roof over their heads through our Earthquake Relief Fund.
- Provide Higher Education for Youth – One common struggle in underdeveloped communities is ensuring youth have access to a higher education. Educated youth are more likely to contribute toward developing a stronger economy and creating solutions to help community members better withstand natural disasters. Our scholarship program helps provide children from low-income families with the means to pursue higher education. Learn more about why education matters and how it can help create a brighter future for children in natural disaster prone communities.
- Spread the Word on Social Media – Connect with the GoAbroad Foundation on Facebook and Twitter to follow our stories about creating more resilient communities. Don’t forget to share valuable information with your friends! The more you spread the word about taking action now, the more you will empower communities around the globe.
If we start taking action now to build more disaster resilient communities, our social media feeds will be flooded with positive image of homes built to last for years to come, smiling children growing up in the arms of their parents, and overcrowded streets filled with people who are happy, healthy, and able to carry on with their daily lives better than ever.
Next time Mother Nature rears her ugly head, let’s ensure the whole world remains held together, rather than left to pick up the pieces she’s torn apart.
Take time today to promote international disaster risk reduction!
This blog was contributed by Ashley Bowes:
Ashley is a Canadian writer, photographer, and outdoor adventurer. She fell head over kilt in love with travel while backpacking solo in Scotland. After studying film and television production, she worked abroad in Edinburgh during the world’s largest arts festival and collaborated with marine biologists to produce digital content for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Ashley has traveled extensively around Latin America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia, doing everything from freediving with sea turtles in Indonesia to chasing the northern lights in Iceland.