"People tend to think that nothing will happen to themselves (in times of disaster)," said Abe, who conducts science shows to raise awareness of disaster prevention. In his science show, Abe manually creates electricity, cuts styrofoam with a heating wire, and uses a blow dryer to suspend a ball in midair -- all in an effort to draw children's attention to the subject. At the end, he usually wraps up the show by talking about how disaster preparedness is important. He started placing more weight on the disaster prevention theme in his science show starting this summer after the earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture.
While they acted quickly, finding unique ways to circumvent the red tape typically associated with disaster relief efforts, other communities have not been so fortunate. In the lessons of recent disasters, both the failure of major government programs and the success of small, community-driven initiatives, policymakers should seek to give local residents and entrepreneurs the space to drive recovery rather than throwing more funding at failing programs. The more barriers we eliminate to disaster victims the faster they can get the resources they need, the faster disaster victims will return and rebuild, and the community becomes more resilient.
Climate and weather disasters have hit nearly every continent in 2017: flooding and monsoons in South Asia, hurricanes and a major earthquake in North America, landslides and drought in Africa and a tsunami threat to Central America. These disasters "vividly demonstrate that we need to redouble our efforts to reduce the impact of such events in the future," Robert Glasser, a United Nations disaster risk official, said in a statement Sept. 8. "If we do not succeed in understanding what it takes to make our societies more resilient to disasters, then we will pay an increasingly high price in terms of lost lives and livelihoods." These 10 disasters are among the most severe this year as of data available Sept. 15, 2017.
In addition, Congress in early September approved $15.25 billion in disaster aid. Of that, $7.4 billion was earmarked for the Federal Emergency Management Disaster Relief Fund. Another $7.4 billion is for Community Development Block Grants to help rebuilding efforts and $450 million for the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan program.