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Floods and earthquake contribute to the highest numbers of disaster mortality in the world, with chances of women and children more likely to die when compared to men. These statistical data were announced during the National Symposium for DRR, a multi-stakeholder forum was held in Nanyuki Laikipia County as part of the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR), commemorated on the 13th October annually.

Kenya Red Cross officials showcase emergency response during the International Day for Disaster reduction in Kenya (Photo by UN Women/Kennedy Okoth)

The event’s purpose was to celebrate how communities around the world are working towards reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of managing the risks that they face.

This year’s Symposium was organized under the theme; “STEP UP TO REDUCE DISASTER MORTALITY IN KENYA” based on the first target for Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SF DRR). The 2016 edition marks the launch of a new, seven-year campaign focused on the seven targets of the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030.

The International Day for DRR provided an opportunity for Kenya to join the global community in celebrating the work and efforts of various stakeholders in managing disaster risks globally whilst the DRR Symposium provides a forum for DRR stakeholders to share knowledge and experience, learn from each other, document some of the best practices, review challenges, opportunities and recommend measures to strengthen DRM in Kenya.  

The event saw participation drawn from various DRR stakeholders from the National and County level including: Governor Laikipia County, Hon. Joshua Irungu; County Commissioner, Laikipia County Mr. Chege Mwangi; Deputy Governor Baringo County, Hon Mathew Tuitoek; Member of the National Assembly for Isiolo County, Hon. Tiyah Galgalo, GOK staff, World Bank representative, UN Agencies, private sector, INGOs, academia and community representative.


From L – R: Women Representative and Member of Parliament for Isiolo, Hon Tiyah Galgalo; and Laikipia County Governor Hon. Joshua Irungu during the IDDR symposium. (Photo by UN Women/Kennedy Okoth)


The women Representative and Member of Parliament for Isiolo, Hon Tiyah Galgalo, briefed the participants on the current status of the DRM bill that she is supporting as a Private Member’s bill. From her brief, highlighting that the bill has been published and is awaiting presentation to Finance and Administration & Security committees.

The World Bank unveiled plans for a KSh. 15 billion funding facility towards DRR in the country. This facility is being made available to countries that have recently moved to low middle level income status such as Kenya. However, to access such funding, the countries needs to put in place the necessary legal frameworks i.e. the pending Disaster Risk Management (DRM) policy.

Laikipia County Governor Hon. Joshua Irungu expressed commitment to support the policy and to also mobilize the Council of Governors to support it.

During the two-day national symposium, a range of papers were presented showing how both natural and human induced disasters have contributed to global mortality with significant impacts on the poor, particularly women. UN Women presented a paper on the linkages between gender and disaster mortality.

“Women and children are 14 times more likely to die from disasters when compared to men. In other words, there is a direct linkage between gender and disaster mortality.” Ms. Beatrice Teya, UN Women Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian specialist pointed out

At the end of the two-day symposium, a communique was produced highlighting major issues that the participants would like the government to focus on in order to address some of disaster challenges in the country. The communique resolves to:

  1. Request the National and County Governments to speedily expedite the process of having the Disaster Risk Management Policy and Bill enactment in parliaments;
  2. Urge the National and County Governments to institute and strengthen measures to reduce disaster mortality from key hazards;
  3. Request the National and County Governments to strengthen coordination and implementation of disaster risk reduction activities to enhance community resilience at all levels;
  4. Call upon the private sector to proactively engage and support government efforts to ensure risk sensitive investments and risk informed infrastructural planning;
  5. Call on the Government to partner with academia and research institutions to do evidence based research and provide information on impacts of disasters on country’s economy;
  6. Request all stakeholders to take innovative approaches including use of technology to address disaster risk management challenges;
  7. Consider involvement of communities especially youth, women and people with disabilities in resilience building;



UN Women is funded by: Government of Finland, Government of Sweden, Government of Japan

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