islamabad -  International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction will be observed today (Monday).

Designated by United Nations General Assembly, the day is aimed at raising awareness on how people are taking action to reduce their risk to disasters.

With theme “Resilience is for life: Older persons and disasters” this year the day is being marked with focus on older people in order to highlight the need for a more inclusive approach for older people in disaster risk reduction. It acknowledges the critical role they can play in better planning and understanding disaster risk, and how they can help with resilience building in their communities through their experience and knowledge.

Pakistan is located in a sensitive geographical area and is already under pressure from climate-related stresses that have profound consequences for human economic activity in sectors such as health, food production, energy consumption, water resources etc. The effects of climate change, whether environmental, economic or social, are a threat to the resilience of communities especially for the ones directly dependent on ecosystems for their livelihoods, shelter, food security and access to basic services.

Pakistan is among the 15 countries in the world where population of people over the age of 60 is more than 10 million. In disaster prone low and middle-income countries with aging population, extreme events related to climate have the potential to increase older people’s vulnerability to risks and disasters.

The vulnerability of a person or group of persons affects their ability to cope with and survive in a disaster. Older persons, as a group, are mostly identified as among the most vulnerable segments of the population.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his message on the day, has underlined the importance of recognising the strengths of older persons that could serve the community at large. Their years of experience could help in reducing risks posed by disasters and they should be involved in disaster risk management as well as related planning and decision-making processes.