Introduction to this training module
Purpose and scope
An Overview of Disaster Management is designed to
introduce the subject of disaster management to an audience of UN organization
professionals who form disaster management teams, as well as to government
counterpart agencies, NGOs, and donors. The training is designed to increase the
audiences awareness of the nature and management of disasters. This should
lead to better performance in disaster preparedness and response. By questioning
the inevitability of disasters, we hope you can begin to see
mitigation of disasters as a component of development, and disasters as
opportunities to further development goals.
In this course we take a broad view of disasters. We will not
try to separate out problems rooted in environmental degradation as a distinct
set of responsibilities. It also includes emergencies which encompass the need
to provide assistance to large populations displaced by the forces of civil
conflict or other emergencies.
Much of the courses content is based on the UNDP/UNDRO
Disaster Manual and follows its principles, procedures, and terminology.
Overall learning objectives
The overall objectives of this training module aim to
create interest in disaster
link the learning to your work activities
relate the learning to your values and attitudes about
We hope this will be achieved through your reading of this text
and completing the suggested exercises. Specifically, you should be able to do
describe the relationship
among hazard, vulnerability and disasters
describe the basic concepts, aims, and
elements of disaster and emergency management
describe the range of available
preparedness/mitigation measures, consider their appropriateness, opportunities,
limitations and modalities of implementation through development activities
clarify the purpose, function and means
of response of the UN agencies involved in the emergency scenario and
particularly that of the UN Disaster Management Team.
Q. Before you go on, write down two or three
key reasons why you are studying this course on disaster management.
| || |
Compare your reasons with those of others that are on the
Importance of training for disaster management
Why are disasters and disaster management training of concern to
country governments, to the UN and, in particular, to UNDP and UNDRO? How can
governments and UNDP justify adding disaster management to their long lists of
competing priorities? There are several answers to these questions.
Governments are increasingly requesting
UN agencies to in-country coordinate all UN post-disaster assistance and
sometimes all international assistance. Therefore, governments and the UN need
better communication about their mutual needs and capabilities.
Disasters are a growing problem. They
will become of increasing concern to governments and an increasing part of the
UNs principal activities. In disaster-prone countries UNDPs country
programmes are inevitably affected by disasters. Projects are set back or suffer
delays as a country recovers from the consequences of a disaster.
Disasters are non-routine events that
require non-routine responses. Government and development agencies in general
cannot rely on normal procedures to implement appropriate responses. They need
to learn and practice special skills and attitudes.
Disasters are closely linked with at
least four other priorities for which UNDP has accepted either a direct or
supportive role: displaced persons, refugees and returnees, women in
development, and environmental protection. The issues of all these subjects
overlap significantly. A training programme in one will support the professional
development of UNDP staff in all.
UNDRO has an established international
mandate in this area. It is to coordinate activities promoting preparedness and
mitigation as well as the response to disasters. UNDROs interests are
represented in the field by UNDP. It is incumbent upon both agencies to promote
a marked increase of awareness and competence in disasters, and to involve other
concerned UN agencies.
In their role as Resident Coordinators,
UNDP Res Reps and field office staff need to train with their sister agencies in
the procedures of implementing a coordinated and appropriate disaster response.
The world community takes considerable
interest in disasters. Governments and the UN system have high profiles in these
events which are observed closely by the media. UN agencies and governments must
prove their competence in order to project a positive image of providing
This module is intended for two audiences, the self-study
learner and the participant in a training workshop. The following training
methods are planned for use in workshops and are simulated in the written
module. For the self-study learner the text is as close to a tutor as can be
managed in print.
Workshop training methods include
· supplementary handouts
You are invited to use this text as a workbook. In addition to
note-taking in the margins, you will be given the opportunity to stop and
examine your learning along the way through questions included in the text.
Write down your answers to these questions before proceeding to ensure that you
have captured key points of the text.
This text is divided into four parts. Part One describes what
hazards are, why they become disasters, and how they affect development.
Part Two identifies the scope of disaster management, what your
role may be in it, and focuses on preparedness aspects.
Part Three accepts that some disasters will occur and examines
how to respond to them.
Part Four presents disaster mitigation as a set of activities
that reduce the risk and impact of disasters.
This training module is complemented by two short videos,
The UN and disaster response, and Disaster mitigation: how to
lessen the damage through proper development. You would benefit from
making arrangements to view these videos and from reviewing the accompanying