Stormy weather - Why we should all care about disaster risk reduction

Cyclone Pam, Vanuatu

By Ann Witteveen

Canadians know about extreme weather!

Just ask anyone in the Maritimes about this winter or the Torontonians who cooked their Christmas turkey on their BBQ’s last year or the residents of downtown Calgary.

The families of Vanuatu are also not unfamiliar with the destruction mother nature can wreak – though the magnitude of this cyclone was bigger than most had ever experienced.

The difference, though, is that while Canadians have insurance, triple paned windows, government support and savings accounts to draw on, the mostly poor people in Vanuatu don’t.

And as climate change gathers intensity around the world, more and more vicious storms are likely on their way. As a result, all of us should pay close attention to the global gathering in Sendai Japan where experts and world leaders debate how best to ensure we are prepared for future disasters. 

To learn more about the Sendai global gathering on disaster preparedness, read Oxfam’s Ben Murphy blog: Vanuatu’s impassioned plea at Sendai

Ann Witteveen is Oxfam Canada's Humanitarian manager.

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