It’s true. Natural disasters are becoming more and more commonplace. Even if we exclude the most recent disasters, the United States averaged 127 disasters annually from 2006-2015. That is more than double the average over the previous 63 years!
According to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), this trend holds true around the globe. While the number of climate-related disasters are increasing, so are the number of people affected overall on an economic level – meaning injuries, disruption of livelihoods, especially in agriculture, and the associated economic damage is increasing.
The statistics are overly concerning, but there is a silver lining – the number of deaths caused by natural disasters is decreasing. The global community has made great improvements in early warning systems and disaster preparedness and response which has led to a reduction in the loss of life in single-hazard scenarios. But the increased number of disasters and overlapping events i.e. poverty, climate change, air pollution, population growth, loss of biodiversity, means the mere number of people who suffer from these disasters is much higher. More people than ever are economically devastated by repeated disasters and are unable to recover on their own.
And with the increase in extreme weather events, governments cannot be there to fully support the recovery process. This is why nonprofits like International Relief Teams are so critical to both short-term and long-term disaster recovery. We have opportunities to help where governments simply cannot. We keep people alive in the immediate aftermath AND provide long-term recovery and hope for the future.
And the value of hope cannot be underestimated. Of course, there is physical damage and loss of life that comes with any disaster, but the long-term damage to survivors and communities can be much more damaging.
“Disasters can change victim’s attitudes in ways that will potentially haunt individuals, communities and local economies for decades to come,” Katrina Kosec, a senior research fellow of the International Food Policy Research Institute, told the Washington Post.
“When people endure natural disasters without aid, they may face a lifetime of diminished hope for prosperity. Delivering disaster aid to victims quickly not only restores lost assets, but also maintains their aspirations – and invests in communities’ longer-term economic and democratic health,” Kosec reported.
Read more about Kosec’s fascinating research on the value of disaster relief here.
Providing relief after a disaster not only sustains life, it maintains hope for the future and the potential for full economic recovery. IRT’s role in providing disaster relief is becoming even more important as the number of natural disasters increase due to climate change.
You can donate now to help families rebuild and recover in the event of a disaster here.
Read more about IRT’s disaster responses here.