UN: India gets 28th rank among 190 countries

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A Disaster Risk and Age Index launched at the United Nations’ third world conference on disaster risk reduction here has ranked India 28th among 190 countries that are worse on most parameters of providing their elderly a secure environment.

Somalia has ranked first, followed by Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq among others. All these countries are affected by civil war and ongoing conflict.

However, in countries like India, it has been other factors like lack of social security to its aging population, their vulnerability to natural disasters and absence of a resilient network that has majorly weighed against it and has lowered its ranking among 190 UN member countries.

When it comes to taking care of its elderly, India is worse than even Nepal, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Guatemala and even Papua Guinea ? all of them ranking better than India.

The Index has been developed by HelpAge with support from UN’s Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) as a pilot. It was launched a day before Home minister Rajnath Singh presented his country statement at the UN’s conference at the disaster risk reduction (DRR) here.

Home minister is attending the UN’s third world conference to sign a new framework for action post 2015 that will replace the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) which was signed in 2005 by UN member countries, post-2004 India Ocean Tsunami. HFA commit nations to legislate DRR laws to work towards building a resilient society and charting out strategies to mitigate economic and human losses.

The UNISDR has urged governments to commit to Charter 14, a 14-point declaration by UN members pledging to include older people in disaster risk reduction efforts. This may be reemphasized and likely to be included in the post-2015 framework for DRR which will be adopted at the world conference in Sendai.

The risk age index is a country-by-country analysis of the disaster risks faced by older people, based on three dimensions: hazard and exposure, vulnerability and lack of coping capacity.

Pakistan has been ranked 16th on this index while Bangladesh has been at 25th. But that should not be any solace to India. European Union nations and US are among some of the best rated countries.

A UNISDR press note highlighted the need for policy shift for those countries which are ranked lower on this index as 66% of the world’s over 60s live in less developed regions. By 2050, this is projected to rise to 79%. The world’s population of older people is expected to rise to 2.02 billion by 2050.

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