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Disaster risk management in kingdom of Saudi Arabia – current practices and way forward for sustainable development

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Author: 
Ehab Abduraheem A. Mlybari, Imtiaz Ahmed and Muhammad Hasan Khalil
Abstract: 

Recently, rising frequency and severity of disasters, occurring primarily due to climate change, emphasize the need for policy, legal, technical, financial and institutional measures aimed at minimizing detrimental impacts of disasters. This entails comprehensive review of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) including mitigation, preparedness, emergency response, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Modern concepts and practices entail a paradigm shift in approach to handling disasters from 'response centric' to 'proactive' risks management, leading to disaster-resilient development, integrated response capability and enhanced awareness in the societal context. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has diverse topography, complex climate change pattern and historic profile of multifaceted disasters. The North western region is prone to earthquakes and volcanic hazards, the central and western region to floods, the south west mountainous region to landslides and the central and eastern regions to dust storms. KSA is confronting enormous challenges including, lack of formal training, professional expertise and coordination among various stakeholders. This coupled with the absence of hazard risk assessment, mapping or micro-zoning, building / services guidelines, specifications, codes, etc. further aggravates the situation. This paper evaluates the state of vulnerability, preparedness and management of disasters in KSA with a view to recommend way forward for sustainable development. The study presents the results of questionnaire surveys primarily aimed at assessing awareness of the community and preparedness of the DRM organizations. It recommends way forward including framework for establishment of DRM institute for indigenous capacity building.

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               Prof. Dr. ISMAIL YILDIRIM

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