Jehangir provided an international development perspective on the topic, ‘The Role of the Private Sector in Disaster Management and Mitigation along with other speakers on the topic, Dr Jemilah Mahmood, founder of MERCY Malaysia, and Professor Chhetri, President of the Nepal Centre for Disaster Management.
Jehangir started his talk by highlighting the critical role Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) plays to saving lives, as examined in the recent IR advocacy report 'Feeling the Heat'. He cited the example of San Francisco, a city that prepared itself for disasters, where an earthquake in 1989 killed 69 people – but in Haiti in 2010, an earthquake of similar intensity killed 316,000.
He talked about Islamic Relief’s key projects in relation to DRR, particularly in Bangladesh, where it has raised homes on plinths, conducted community training on survival techniques, developed an advocacy campaign to ensure earthquake-resilient construction, and formed Disaster Management Committees, volunteer networks and other Community Based Organisations.
While NGOs such as IR were delivering key DRR work, he appealed to the audience over the potential role businesses can play to strengthen DRR work – beyond funding – by providing technical and skills-based resources. “The private sector could contribute to enhance NGOs’ work: not only through awareness-raising within this community work, but also by contributing to the more technical side of our programmes, using skills and resources to add real value” said Jehangir Malik.” He suggested that the media, for example, could contribute to the collection and dissemination of information to educate people about the hazards and risks they face, and the measures they can take to mitigate and prepare for potential disasters.
Jehangir’s contribution is part of a range of IR advocacy interventions designed to raise awareness about the critical role of DRR, which started with ‘Feeling the Heat’ in September 2012. Since then, IR has held apanel discussion with the World Development Movement and University of Birmingham, conducted trainingand shared best practice with Islamic Relief DRR staff from across the global, as well as delivering numerous DRR projects in its field work.