A fairer world - The Tasmanian Centre for Global Learning

Did you know?
  • Disasters in 2011 set a new record of $366 billion for economic losses including $210 billion as a result of the March tsunami/earthquake in Japan and $40 billion as a result of the floods in Thailand. *
  • In 2011 206 million people were affected by 302 human-impact disasters including, for the second year running, 106 million by floods.*
  • “Around 85 percent of people around the world exposed to natural hazards live in developing countries.” *
  • In 2010 at least 296,800 people were killed in 373 natural disasters, which affected another 208 million and cost nearly $110 billion. *

Take action

  • Support an agency that is active in fighting disasters, such as the Red Cross.
  • Protect yourself against disaster through awareness and preparedness. See the adjoining section on “Preparing for disasters at an individual level.”

Philippines Aid Update. 1 min.

Haiti - Preparing for Disaster. 5:21 mins.

Disaster Relief

Disasters can occur in a variety of forms. Many are the result of natural causes, such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Others have human origins, coming about through wars and overexploitation, which are based on fear and greed. Increasingly, humankind is the flintstone that starts the conflagration. Floods, insect plagues, famines, or health crises can all arise because of our misuse of the planet and its atmosphere.

Some 373 natural disasters killed over 296,800 people in 2010, affecting nearly 208 million others and costing nearly US$110 billion.* By comparison, 2011 was a relatively quiet year, but it was a terrible year for some developed countries.* 

To qualify as a disaster, an event has to exceed the affected community’s capacity to make an adequate response. Many organisations have been formed to help respond to disasters internationally. In recent years, there has been a shift from response to preparedness and disaster reduction. This is taking place in a number of ways, including empowering the poor, strengthening communities, building infrastructure, improving event monitoring and prediction techniques and fostering training and preparedness programs.

Disasters can create suffering on a massive scale. All too often they are seen as providing an opportunity for corruption and corporate profiteering. Fortunately, they can also produce wonderful outpourings of compassion, cooperation and generosity.

Finding out about disasters and their causes

As disasters begin to dominate our media and our lives, it can be helpful to be able to access good background information.
Responding to disasters

"We must, above all, shift from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention. Prevention is not only more humane than cure; it is also much cheaper... Above all, let us not forget that disaster prevention is a moral imperative, no less than reducing the risks of war".*
Working at a community level

It is the community, and in particular women and children, who bear the brunt of disasters. Many will often end up as refugees.
Preparing for disasters at an individual level

As disasters become more common around the world, it becomes increasingly important that we, as individuals, know how to prepare for them and how to respond to them.