Cover Image
close this bookAn Overview of Disaster Management (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - United Nations Development Programme , 1992, 136 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword to the 2nd edition
View the documentIntroduction to this training module
close this folderPART ONE: HAZARDS AND DISASTERS
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close this folderChapter 1. Introduction to disasters
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View the documentThe disaster problem
close this folderCausal factors of disasters
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View the documentPoverty
View the documentPopulation growth
View the documentRapid urbanization
View the documentTransitions in cultural practices
View the documentEnvironmental degradation
View the documentLack of awareness and information
View the documentWar and civil strife
close this folderChapter 2. Disaster terminology and phases
View the documentDisaster terms
close this folderPhases of a disaster
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View the documentRapid onset disasters
View the documentSlow onset disasters
close this folderChapter 3. Linking disasters and development 1
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentDisruption of development by disasters
View the documentHow development may cause disasters
View the documentDevelopment opportunities afforded by disasters
close this folderChapter 4. Natural hazards
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close this folderCharacteristics of particular hazards and disasters 1
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View the documentEarthquakes
View the documentTsunamis
View the documentVolcanoes
View the documentLandslides
View the documentTropical cyclones
View the documentFloods
View the documentDroughts
View the documentEnvironmental pollution
View the documentDeforestation
View the documentDesertification
View the documentPest infestations
View the documentEpidemics
View the documentChemical and industrial accidents
close this folderChapter 5. Compound and complex disasters 1
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View the documentSocio/political forces
View the documentDisplaced persons
View the documentThe role of the UN in complex emergencies
View the documentSafety of relief teams in conflict zones
close this folderPART TWO: DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
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View the documentIntroduction
close this folderChapter 6. The disaster management team, roles and resources
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View the documentThe UN Disaster Management Team
View the documentCountry Disaster Management Team
View the documentTasks, roles and resources of the UN
View the documentRoles and resources of UNDP, UNDRO, and other UN agencies
View the documentCoordination: the resident coordinator and the UN-DMT
close this folderChapter 7. Disaster preparedness
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View the documentComponents of disaster preparedness
View the documentPreparedness for slow onset and sudden onset disasters
View the documentPreparedness within the United Nations 2
View the documentChecklist of basic information required by a UN-DMT 3
close this folderChapter 8. Vulnerability and risk assessment 1
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View the documentRisk management
View the documentRisk probability
View the documentAcceptable levels of risk
View the documentAssessing risk and vulnerability
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View the documentVulnerability evaluation
View the documentReducing vulnerability for displaced persons
close this folderPART THREE: DISASTER RESPONSE
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close this folderChapter 9. Disaster response
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close this folderAims of emergency and post-disaster assistance
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View the documentWarning
View the documentEvacuation/migration
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View the documentPost-disaster assessment
View the documentEmergency relief
View the documentLogistics and supply
View the documentCommunication and information management
View the documentSurvivor response and coping
View the documentSecurity
View the documentEmergency operations management
View the documentRehabilitation and reconstruction
close this folderChapter 10. Disaster assessment 1
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View the documentObjectives of assessment
View the documentThe assessment process
View the documentAssessments for different disaster types
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close this folderChapter 11. UN response to disasters 1
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View the documentPrincipal elements and actions in response to a sudden disaster
View the documentSitreps - exchanging information with UNDRO
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View the documentThe importance of coordination and information
close this folderChapter 12. Rehabilitation and reconstruction
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View the documentPriorities and opportunities in rehabilitation and reconstruction 1
View the documentZenon hurricane: A case study 3
close this folderPART FOUR: DISASTER MITIGATION
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close this folderChapter 13. Mitigation 1
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View the documentTargeting mitigation where it has most effect
View the documentActions to reduce risk
View the documentThe menu of mitigation actions
View the documentClassification of mitigation measures
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close this folderChapter 14. UN assistance to disaster mitigation
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View the documentDisaster mitigation as a development theme
View the documentAppraising disaster mitigation needs, policies, and capacity
View the documentSources of information: needs for technical expertise
View the documentProject identification and formulation
View the documentDisaster risk appraisal of all projects in hazardous areas
close this folderDisaster risk reduction planning checklist
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View the documentDisasters and Development (DAD) Project Review Form
View the documentAppendix - GA Resolution 46/182, Strengthening of the Coordination of Humanitarian Emergency Assistance of the United Nations

Socio/political forces

Increasingly throughout many parts of the world one type of hazard can trigger a disaster which in turn triggers another hazard and subsequent disaster. For example, a drought may lead to a famine which in turn leads to a civil conflict that results in the mass displacement of people. A flood may force people to seek refuge across an international border where conflicts ensue between refugees and local communities.

Such compound hazards and disasters need not happen sequentially; they can also occur simultaneously. Thus, people caught between contending forces in a civil war find that in the midst of a major drought they have no means either to grow food or to receive outside assistance.

In a growing number of countries, complex disasters are also becoming more evident. Essentially a complex disaster is a form of human-made emergency in which the cause of the emergency as well as the assistance to the afflicted are bound by intense levels of political considerations. The single most prevalent political condition of a complex emergency is civil conflict, resulting in a collapse of political authority in all or part of a country. In such cases, at least one of three situations arise:

1. The government’s ability to assist the disaster-afflicted becomes severely constrained.

2. The government becomes extremely suspicious of or uninterested in afflicted people who have fled from non-government to government held areas.

3. The government or opposition groups actually create or compound a disaster through actions that generate refugees and the mass displacement of people.

In fact, many affected people live in areas outside of government control. They are often the persons who are most in need and they are often the most difficult to reach with aid.

The disaster becomes “complex” because either the collapse or diffusion of political control makes assistance highly problematic. Solutions ultimately depend upon agreements with all parties involved in the conflict to permit assistance to be provided to recognize civilian noncombatants. These solutions may be agreements that are seen essentially as compromising fundamental aspects of sovereignty for what have been labelled as “new mechanisms of humanitarian assistance” (for example, corridors of tranquility).

An acute example of a situation illustrating the characteristics of both compound and complex emergencies is the Horn of Africa. For the past several years the situation in the Horn of Africa has been characterized by internal conflicts in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia. These conflicts have been exacerbated by recurrent droughts and have resulted in famines on a massive scale and the flight of large numbers of people across national borders. After years of drought in some parts of the region, by 1991 food shortages were widespread. It became apparent that the crisis in the region was less the result of inadequate rainfall than that of a human-made emergency.

During the last half of 1991, the situation in many parts of the Horn remained highly volatile and fragile, largely due to conflict and a break down of law and order. This resulted in further population displacement and in intense misery for millions of people.