October 12, 2018 | Written by: Rebecca Curzon
Categorized: Disaster Relief & Recovery
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As we observe the United Nations International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) each October 13th, we remember the heavy human and economic losses caused by natural disasters, and recommit ourselves to disaster preparedness and recovery. As this article publishes, the death toll from the Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia has exceeded 2,000, with as many as 5,000 people still missing and 80,000 left homeless. And in the United States, areas recently ravaged by Hurricane Florence are experiencing the impact of Hurricane Michael.
In addition to the human cost, the short- and long-term economic costs of natural disasters are staggering. According to World Bank estimates, disasters cost the global economy more than $USD520 billion each year, and push nearly 26 million people worldwide into poverty.
Helping to establish resilient communities and nations is the mission of the U.N. IDDR, and IBM is committed to this goal. We have responded to more than 80 disasters around the world since 2001, most recently:
- Hurricane Florence in the U.S. – launching real-time volunteer recovery and relief efforts, and convening a special Florence-focused Call for Code gathering of developers and Research Triangle Park (NC) area response organizations to explore longer-term disaster preparedness solutions
- Catastrophic summer earthquakes, flooding and landslides in Japan – deploying a mobile-enabled Disaster Management Information System (DMIS) to help authorities account for the missing, assist survivors, assess damage and determine resource requirements
- Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia – working with Indonesian officials on whether the latest IBM Research technologies can play a role in this developing situation
In each instance, IBM has contributed our global expertise and advanced technologies to help communities regroup, recover and rebuild.
Changing weather patterns and rising seas are increasing the frequency of natural disasters, while intensifying their effects in many of the coastal areas where some of the world’s most economically vulnerable populations live. That’s why it’s so important for all of us to become aware – and to raise awareness – of the human and economic tolls of natural disasters. We can’t control the weather. But by working together on adequate preparations, can we help minimize its impact on the global community.
Rebecca Curzon is Global Humanitarian Response Manager and Senior Program Manager with IBM Corporate Citizenship. Tweet about International Day for Disaster Reduction using the hashtag #ResilienceForAll.
Register for October 16th Call for Code – Hurricane Florence Event in RTP
IBM Responds to Hurricane Florence
Learn More About IBM’s Hurricane Resiliency Initiatives