A Road Map for Resilience

By Leonard Doyle

Haiti remains one of the Caribbean countries most exposed to damage during each hurricane season as the above infographic reveals. (Click here to see the animated version) A high level of deforestation over the past three decades has left the country at extreme risk of flooding and landslides.

Last week Tropical Storm Chantal dissipated before it could do any harm, providing a timely opportunity to test life-saving preparations for the upcoming Caribbean hurricane season. The effects of last year’s hurricane season are still felt today. Tropical Storm Isaac in August and Hurricane Sandy in October took lives and inflicted extensive damage to homes and crops, which led to food shortages and price increases, as well as to a substantial increase in the number of cholera cases.

Haiti is far from being an isolated case of vulnerability. Between 2008 and 2012, some 140 million people worldwide have been displaced by violent events including earthquakes and floods, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. IOM’s second Compendium on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience launched on July 16, provides the first in-depth analysis of the interaction between disasters and mobility; spells out the fundamental role that human mobility plays in shaping resilience; and indicates the causes of vulnerability for communities at risk.  

“While we recognize the evidence of increased frequency and the increased impact of disasters, we must also recognize that in a more and more globalized and mobile world, exploring the linkages between human mobility, vulnerability and resilience will remain essential to reducing the costs – human, material and economic – of disasters around the globe,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

“In Pakistan, for example, in recent years there have been three consecutive massive floods that have displaced millions of people in poor rural areas. Flight saved their lives, but the recurring floods and the prolonged displacement eroded their livelihood options and their resilience,” he noted.