People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
United Nations Development Programme: Disaster Risk Reduction
Nature’s cycles and unique environments create a habitable world for many forms of life. Yet it is also the cause of uncontrollable destruction. This destruction can eliminate the progress of hundreds of years of development and put our citizens in harm’s way. Without preparation, thousands can die. We cannot control the root source of the problem— as nature is its own unpredictable being, but we can unite under its dangers as we share the consequences of these natural disasters.
Algeria is a place prone to many floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Just in 2003, we were hit with a 6.3 magnitude earthquake which killed 2,271 people. Our citizens have reached out to the government for more help dealing with the lack of preparation. In response to Algerian citizens’ needs and recent civil unrest, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down and was replaced this year by President Abdelkader Bensalah. This change was so recent that the Algerian government has had little time to respond to the needs of disaster risk reduction. Even now, this decision is not final; another election will be held this December. However, Algeria has been more active internationally. We discussed our needs in the 3rd World Conference in February, 2019, and our UN representatives went through training sessions on how to most effectively make cities resilient to disasters. There, we decided to implement disaster risk reduction committees within more local level government (governorate), decentralizing the issue, thus reaching more citizens.
This is slight progress in the right direction, but with the social unrest within our country, and times more focused on the upcoming election, Algeria needs a more efficient and simple plan for disaster risk reduction. We support plans similar to those laid out in the 3rd World Conference, and we plan to continue in that direction within our country. Algeria would also like to see more plans on structural fixes: ways to change the way of building so that there is less debris to harm citizens as well as to manage post-disaster.
- Annika Santos