DARA for Bangladesh: a race against nature’s clock

“Our people are struggling to survive now during the wake of climate change”

– Statement by Kiribati at the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Dhaka, 14 November 2011

Located in south Asia and with a tropical climate, Bangladesh is a country very susceptible to climate changes and natural hazards. The humid monsoon season, that lasts about four months, is known for causing several natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, tropical rains and cyclones. Only in 2007, the population of Bangladesh saw its country be destroyed by two major floods and the Cyclon Sidr, with winds over 240 km/h, cutting off communications and transportation: all in all, they affected over nine million people, caused sever food shortages, rises of fuel prices, inflation in the products and a serious outbreak of avian influenza in the most affected areas. The total people affected were over 8 million, 1,100 of which died,and not to forget the economic damage of 2.3 billion dollars.

Bangladesh’s vulnerability to natural calamities caught the attention numerous organizations: among them, the non profit organization named DARA is doing a particularly important work.

DARA is an independent organization founded in 2002 by Silvia Hidalgo. It’s main aim is to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian aid for vulnerable populations, affected by disasters and climate change, and victims of conflicts: it achieves its goal by conducting evaluations on the humanitarian operations across the five continents, in the service of numerous governments and the United Nations, not to mention the different European agencies and international organizations like the Red Cross.

Through those evaluations, and the development of different indexes and monitoring projects  (Humanitarian Response Index, Climate Vulnerability Monitor, Risk Reduction Index) DARA is able to provide the right expertise and give useful development suggestions, innovative solutions and practical knowledge.

The reason for DARAs interest in Bangladesh is, obviously, related to the environmental consequences and need to establish an agreement/resolution. Environmental consequences lead to human suffering, and dramatic irreversible changes of nature.

In trying to achieve its goals of economic, environmental and political adaptation, the organization is facing many challenges.

First of all, it is a race against natures clock, which means there is a time pressing factor, therefore agreements should be established the better the sooner. Reaching agreements is also a great challenge and as a consequence DARAs work of selling the event and news, must be extremely effective. This includes organizing travels and logistics for meetings (delegates and special guests), including communication methods such as the international press. Providing technical assistance and aid in drafting declarations, is also necessary. All time long, bearing in mind the fact that the declarations are of non-binding character.

It is undeniable truth that we, human beings, haven’t seen but a short photogram in the film of the life of the earth. Consequently, we can’t state that the climate on our planet is drastically changing due to our industrial activities and pollution. So even when we must be aware that temperatures and climate on earth have changed from glaciation to desertification, even after the appearance of the first human beings, we should try to build our civilizations in parallel to the environment around us. That would mean not only to avoid our activities from damaging its balance, but also to adequate our progress to its nature. An example of this could be the architecture techniques that have allowed constructing buildings in Japan able to resist earthquakes. However, this can’t be applied in most of the times and the worst consequences of the anger of nature are suffered by the less developed countries, so we should take DARA’s action as an example for the humanity and for developed countries to awake to this reality in which, if we are heading into a global civilization, we should unify our strength to help one to the others in a constant seek for global progress.

For more information of DARAs imapct and dimension go to: http://daraint.org/


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