German IRDR National Committee and HelpAge on International Day for Disaster Reduction

Floods that wipe out entire settlements, earthquakes that destroy lodgings, heat waves that strike entire regions, all affect the elderly in very drastic ways: older citizens have special needs when it comes to evacuation, protection of assets, and communication, that need to be reflected in disaster preparedness and prevention plans. Currently, some 26 million elderly persons are affected directly by the effects of disasters, and the figure is set to rise, at the very least, three-fold by 2050.

Together with the international charity Help Age, the German National Committee for IRDR, (Deutsches Komitee Katastrophenvorsorge e.V. – DKKV) launched a press release alerting to the special needs of older people under conditions of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. “Older people are disproportionally affected by the increase in natural disasters and climate change. HelpAge advocates for their inclusion in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation debates and programmes”, the charity writes.

Read more about the DRR programme and policy work of Help Age: disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

See the press release (in German only): Weitere Informationen in der Pressemitteilung vom 10.10.2014

This year the focus of the International Day for Disaster Reduction (13 October) is on older people, including their needs and what they contribute to better planning and understanding of disaster risk in their communities. IDDR 2014 intends to to switch on and amplify this critical issue now and for the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.

As part of the activities leading to the International Day for Disaster Reduction celebrations in October, UNISDR and HelpAge organized two surveys (for older people; for government disaster management personnel, other agencies and anyone working in emergencies and DRR) related to ageing and DRR. The results of the survey were used to understand how older people are perceived in the context of disasters so as to identify not only their needs and requirements but also the valuable experience they can contribute.

Download: Interim Survey Report