Het jaar van de veerkracht

NEW YORK – Deze maand tien jaar geleden ontmoetten vertegenwoordigers van 168 lidstaten van de Verenigde Naties elkaar in Kobe, de hoofdstad van de prefectuur Hyōgo in Japan, om in de nasleep van de vernietigende zeebeving in de Indische Oceaan van 2004, die meer dan 227.000 levens eiste, te beslissen hoe beter met gevaren om te gaan. In vijf dagen, waarin ook de aardbeving in Kobe in 1995 herdacht werd, ontwikkelden ze het Hyōgo Framework for Action (HFA), dat bestaat uit een hele reeks maatregelen die ontworpen zijn ‘om het verlies van levens en verworvenheden op sociaal-, economisch- en milieu-gebied van gemeenschappen en landen te verminderen.’

Over twee maanden zullen de lidstaten van de VN bijeenkomen voor de derde World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in een andere Japanse stad die symbool staat voor rampgevaar: Sendai, het centrum van de regio Tōhoku, die in 2011 het ergste getroffen werd door de aardbeving en tsunami die leidden tot de meltdown van de kerncentrale in Fukushima. Er zal één vraag door ieders hoofd spoken bij de bijeenkomst: heeft de wereld de ambitieuze doelen van de HFA volbracht?

Het bewijs van de afgelopen tien jaar (die zijn getekend door een aantal van de ergste natuurrampen in de ons overgeleverde geschiedenis) is verre van gunstig. Port-au-Prince werd met de grond gelijk gemaakt door een aardbeving. Orkaan Katarina verwoestte New Orleans. Droogte doodde een onbekend aantal mensen in de Hoorn van Afrika. Overstromingen en aardbevingen hadden impact op miljoenen in China en Pakistan. Hittegolven en bosbranden teisterden landen overal ter wereld.

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