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.)
close this folderPART TWO: DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 6. The disaster management team, roles and resources
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 7. Disaster preparedness
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 8. Vulnerability and risk assessment 1

(introduction...)


Introduction

Part One of this module introduced background information regarding hazards, disasters, and the disaster continuum. The rest of the module will address each of the phases of the disaster continuum with a special focus on preparedness, response and mitigation.

The framework for studying these disaster phases is disaster management which has been defined as

the body of policy and administrative decisions and operational activities which pertain to the various stages of a disaster at all levels.

The scope of disaster management, therefore, can include all disaster-related activities. These activities become so inclusive that no one individual is responsible for the entire range. Instead the responsibility is divided according to job descriptions and limited by the organization’s primary functions. The Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies, for example, work mainly in preparedness and emergency response phases and less often in reconstruction. Some NGOs work only in reconstruction. Even government, with its broad responsibility for overall aspects of disaster management, breaks down these components to be managed by several of its agencies. The UN has similar allocations of responsibility as a function of its agencies’ mandates and sectoral expertise.

The following chapters will discuss the component activities of disaster management. You will be asked to examine your individual and organizational responsibilities in relation to each phase of activity.

LEARNING
OBJECTIVES

After reading this part of the text and completing the exercises, you should know the basic concepts, aims and elements of disaster and emergency management. You will be able to:


describe the UN and country disaster management teams and the role of each member

identify the components of disaster preparedness planning

describe the role of vulnerability and risk assessment as a prerequisite to disaster mitigation

(introduction...)

Part One was a brief introduction to hazards and disasters. But, before we go further into describing the nature of disasters, we will introduce part of your role in the management of them.

One of the primary purposes of this overall training program is to introduce the concept of managing disasters as a team. The objectives of disaster management through teamwork include:

· a forum for communication, information exchange and developing consensus
· a format for coordination, eliminating duplication and reducing gaps in services
· the possibility of being more effective through pooled resources

The UN Disaster Management Team


Figure 6.1 The UN disaster management team

The United Nations General Assembly believes that the objectives of team management are applicable to the UN agencies oriented to emergencies. They have mandated that a standing UN Disaster Management Team (UN-DMT) be formed in each disaster-prone country, convened and chaired by the UN resident coordinator. The composition of the UN-DMT is determined by taking into account the types of disaster to which the country is prone and the organizations present, but should normally include a core group consisting of the country-level representatives of FAO, UNDP/UNDRO, UNICEF, WFP, WHO and, where present, UNHCR. It may be enlarged to include additional representatives or project personnel from other relevant agencies when an emergency arises.

The original and primary purpose of the UN-DMT is to ensure a prompt, effective and concerted response by the UN system at country level in the event of a disaster. The team should also ensure similar coordination of UN assistance to the Government in respect to post-disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction, and relevant disaster mitigation measures through long-term development programs. It should be emphasized that for all aspects of disaster management the UN-DMT is in a support role of the government.

The UN-DMT recognizes and in no way supersedes the mandates and specific functions of the various organizations in the exercise of those mandates. It supports and assists the office of the resident coordinator in the exercise of its system-wide functions. In line with General Assembly resolution 46/182, the latter will maintain close contact with, and receive leadership from the Emergency Relief Coordinator.

Country Disaster Management Team


Figure 6.2 Country disaster management team

Most disaster prone countries already have a formal or informal disaster management team. It is typically headed by a national disaster focal point body. This body functions in liaison with the Office of the President or Prime Minister, with civil defense organizations, key government ministries, the Red Cross/Red Crescent, and other NGOs and major donors. The UN-DMT needs to interface with this team and, where practical, to be a team member. Where national officials do not participate in UN-DMT meetings or activities, the resident coordinator should ensure that they are consulted and briefed on all relevant matters. In practice it is vital that the policies of the DMT relate to those approved by the Government even under the pressure of events.

Q. In your country which UN agencies are present that could become operational in a disaster? Which additional governmental and non-governmental organizations and donors should work together on a country disaster management team?



A. ____________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________


______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________


Tasks, roles and resources of the UN

This part of the chapter is condensed from Chapter 1 of the UNDP/UNDRO Disaster Management Manual. It describes the role of the UN system and its agencies in disaster management.

Organizational tasks and general roles

Primary responsibility for all aspects of disaster management rests with the Government of the affected country. This includes: planning and implementing long-term risk reduction and preparedness measures; planning and administering disaster relief and rehabilitation operations, requesting international assistance if required; and coordinating all disaster-related assistance programs, both nationally and internationally-funded.

Each UN organization or agency is responsible for providing advice and assistance to the Government of a disaster-prone or disaster-affected country, in accordance with its mandate and the resources available to it. In so doing, each agency is accountable to its own governing body, but it is also called upon to act as a member of a united team. In the case of refugee emergencies, UNHCR remains responsible for their protection and the coordination of international assistance for the refugees.

In relation to disaster relief and other post-disaster assistance, each organization and agency of the UN system is called on to:

· Mobilize and provide timely technical assistance and material support to disaster-affected countries, according to its own mandate and the resources available to it.

· Co-operate with the UN resident coordinator, UNDRO, or any other coordination mechanism established by the Secretary-General to ensure appropriate, coordinated UN system assistance in the context of a concerted plan and program.


Roles and resources of UNDP, UNDRO, and other UN agencies

The role of UNDP


UNDP focuses primarily on the development-related aspects of disaster risks and occurrences, and on providing technical assistance to institution-building in relation to all aspects of disaster management. Its emphasis is therefore on:

a) Incorporating long-term risk reduction and preparedness measures in normal development planning and programs, including support for specific mitigation measures where required.

b) Assisting in the planning and implementation of post-disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction, including the definition of new development strategies that incorporate risk reduction measures relevant to the affected area.

c) Reviewing the impact of large settlements of refugees or displaced persons on development, and seeking ways to incorporate the refugees and displaced persons in development strategies.

d) Providing technical assistance to the authorities managing major emergency assistance operations of extended duration (especially in relation to displaced persons and the possibilities for achieving durable solutions in such cases).

In addition, UNDP provides administrative and operational support to the resident coordinator function, particularly at country level, but also at headquarters.

In the event of a disaster, UNDP may grant a maximum of $50,000 from SPR funds to provide immediate relief. UNDP is not otherwise involved in the provision of “relief using any of its own resources or other funds administered by the Program.

Where a major emergency substantially affects the whole development process within a country, IPF resources may be used to provide technical assistance to plan and manage the operation, with the agreement of the Government.

Technical and material assistance in support of long-term risk reduction and preparedness measures is included in the country program, and may be funded from IPF resources or from other UNDP-administered funds. The same can also be used to assist rehabilitation and reconstruction. Special additional grants (up to $1.1 million) may be made from SPR funds for technical assistance to such post-disaster recovery efforts following natural disasters.

The particular responsibilities of the UNDP resident representative are summarized in the following panel.

Disaster management responsibilities of the UNDP resident representative

The resident representative is responsible for:

a) Ensuring that all concerned in planning development programs are aware of any known or potential hazards and their likely effects, and that these are appropriately taken into account in the country program.

b) Designating a “disaster focal point,” and ensuring that the field office is adequately prepared to respond to an emergency.

c) In the event of a disaster:

· Mobilizing UNDP staff and technical assistance personnel and other resources that meet the needs of the situation, particularly those needed for the initial assessment and immediate response.

· Ensuring that UNDP assistance is used to good effect, and the capacity of the office is strengthened if necessary to ensure effective response.


Disaster focal point

In all disaster-prone country field offices, a senior national officer is designated a “disaster focal point” for all disaster-related matters including mitigation, response and international UN/UNDP preparedness. Section 3A and appendix 3A of the UNDP/UNDRO Disaster Manual provide detail on the duties and qualifications of the disaster focal point.

In a major or complex emergency of extended duration (typically involving displaced populations), UNDP may temporarily assign an additional deputy resident representative. That deputy may either manage normal UNDP business while the resident representative concentrates on the resident coordinator functions, or may take day-today responsibility for matters relating to the emergency which are within the UNDP mandate. In the countries with the most severe or prolonged emergencies UNDP has established UN Emergency Units. These units are able to focus exclusively on addressing the emergency and are often staffed by persons seconded from sister UN agencies that are operational in that country.

In the event of a sudden influx of refugees into a country in which there is no UNHCR representation, the resident representative immediately notifies UNHCR and initiates the assessment process on behalf of the UNHCR. (See section 4A.5 of the manual.)

The role of UNDRO


UNDRO is the focal point for disaster management in the UN system (except in those countries where a UN Emergency Unit is established). In relief it provides a framework for coordination of assistance by the UN agencies and helps to coordinate such assistance with that from other sources. In addition, UNDRO has an important role in mobilizing external assistance and serving as a clearing house for information concerning disasters. In the area of mitigation, UNDRO promotes long-term measures to reduce disaster-related risks and enhance preparedness in disaster-prone countries. UNDRO is represented at country level on a permanent basis by the resident coordinator/representative.

Coordination at headquarters level is often effected by contacts between the Head of Agencies concerned at the beginning of a relief operation, and through frequent ongoing contacts between the relevant focal points. At the country level, coordination is undertaken by the resident coordinator who is also the UNDRO representative. Whenever possible and required, UNDRO supports the resident coordinator by dispatching an UNDRO delegate or emergency assistance team.

UNDRO concentrates on problems related to natural hazards and sudden disasters, but as its mandate covers all kinds of emergencies UNDRO may also offer its services and advice in situations including droughts, and cases of war and civil conflicts, unless and until the Secretary-General makes other arrangements.

Following a disaster, UNDRO, acting on behalf of the Secretary-General, offers its services to the Government of the disaster-stricken state in assessing the need for external relief assistance, and communicating that information to prospective donors and others concerned. (Contacts with the Government are conducted through the resident coordinator/representative and the country’s mission in Geneva or New York.) Where international assistance is required or requested, UNDRO:

· Helps to identify priority needs on the basis of information from the Government, the resident coordinator/representative, UN-DMT, and other competent bodies.

· Issues international appeals and acts as a clearing house for information on needs and contributions, the assistance extended or planned by all donors, and the progress of relief operations.

· Seeks to mobilize resources and coordinate relief assistance by various UN organizations and agencies, bilateral donors, and inter- and non-governmental organizations and administers funds channelled through it.

Depending on the particular situation after consultations, wherever possible, with the Government or the resident coordinator/representative, UNDRO may:

· Assign one or more delegates on mission to assist the national authorities in organizing the assessment and administering relief operations, and assist the resident coordinator/representative in information management, the local coordination of international relief assistance, and in his reporting responsibilities to UNDRO.

· Provide logistic support to ensure the timely arrival of relief supplies and their prompt delivery to the affected population. This may include organizing shared or joint relief flights.

The Coordinator may approve a grant of up to US$ 50,000 per disaster from funds available to UNDRO, subject to certain conditions. In some situations, UNDRO can release supplies from the emergency stockpile it administers in Pisa, Italy.

UNDP/UNDRO collaboration

UNDP and UNDRO complement each other. UNDP has a wealth of experience in development planning and administration, and well-established field offices. UNDRO has specific knowledge and experience in disaster management, and established contacts with relevant specialist bodies. The fact that the UNDP resident representative also represents UNDRO helps to ensure fruitful cooperation between the organizations.

At the country level UNDP field offices generally administer funds and resources channelled through UNDRO, following normal inter-agency procedures. This includes the local procurement of supplies and services, and the recruitment and appointment of temporary staff.


Disaster-related roles of the core members of the UN-DMTs




FAO


Provides technical advice in reducing vulnerability and helps in the rehabilitation of agriculture, livestock, and fisheries, with emphasis on local food production. Monitors food production, exports and imports, and forecasts any requirements of exceptional food assistance.




UNDP


Promotes the incorporation of disaster mitigation in development planning, and funds technical assistance for all aspects of disaster management. Provides administrative support to the resident coordinator and UN-DMT.




UNDRO


Mobilizes and coordinates international emergency relief assistance, issuing consolidated appeals. Assists in assessments and relief management if required. Provides advice and guidance on risk assessments and in planning and implementing mitigation measures.




UNHCR


Assures the protection of refugees and seeks durable solutions to their problems. Helps to mobilize and assure the delivery of necessary assistance in the country of asylum if it is a developing country.




UNICEF


Attends to the well-being of children and women, especially child health and nutrition. Assistance activities may include: social programs; child feeding (in collaboration with WFP): water supplies, sanitation and direct health interventions (in collaboration with WHO). Provides related management and logistical support.




WFP


Provides “targeted” food aid for humanitarian relief, and to support rehabilitation, reconstruction, and risk-reducing development programs. Mobilizes and coordinates the delivery of complementary emergency and “program” food aid from bilateral and other sources.




WHO


Provides advice and assistance in all aspects of preventive and curative health care, including the preparedness of health services for rapid response to disasters.

Role of other UN organizations and agencies

A number of other UN organizations and agencies have specific responsibilities, organizational arrangements, and capabilities relating to disaster mitigation, and/or relief or recovery assistance. UNDP, UNDRO, and resident coordinators must respect the mandates and skills of these agencies, and seek to ensure that all work together in harmony. All should use their expertise and resources to best effect in helping people in disaster-prone and disaster-affected areas.

UN system resources available to initiate responses to disasters and emergency needs




FAO


Up to $20,000 at discretion of FAOR within the context of an ongoing emergency or long-term aid project.




UNDP


Up to $50,000 per occurrence for immediate relief; approved by the Director DOF following a request from the resident representative.

Up to $1.1 million for technical assistance for rehabilitation and reconstruction; approved by the Administrator or Governing Council.

IPF funds for technical assistance to emergency management in major operations agreed with Government; approved by Director PCO.




UNDRO


Up to $50,000 per disaster, subject to the availability of resources; approved by the UNDRO co-ordinator following a request by the Government and proposal by the resident representative or other UN organization or agency.




UNHCR


Allocations from a global emergency reserve for assistance to refugees; approved by the High Commissioner.




UNICEF


Up to $25,000 diversion of existing programme funds or in-country supplies at discretion of the country representative in agreement with Government. Larger amounts from global emergency reserve ($4 million per year); approved by Executive Director following a specific proposal by the country representative.

Possibility of diverting some existing country programme funds in case of a major national catastrophe.




WFP


Possibility of borrowing food aid commodities from ongoing WFP-assisted development projects, governmental or other donor’ stocks, subject to headquarters approval to assure replacement.

Up to $50,000 for local purchases of commodities at the discretion of the Director of Operations where there are no other means of arranging timely deliveries.

Allocations primarily from the International Emergency Food Reserve (IEFR), managed by WFP, and from WFP general resources ($45 million annually).




WHO


Global reserve from which allocations can be made for priority medical needs in anticipation of special donor contributions; approved by the Director ERO.

Coordination: the resident coordinator and the UN-DMT

The national Government is ultimately responsible for requesting and coordinating all international assistance. It also approves all programs and emergency work in the country. However, the UN system stands ready to assist upon request. At the country level, the resident coordinator/representative and the UN Disaster Management Team (UN-DMT) are the essential UN coordinating institutions. Their responsibilities apply to all situations which require significant interventions from more than one UN organization or agency. At the international level, UNDRO promotes the coordination of responses to particular disaster situations, both within the UN system and in the wider international community, essentially through information-sharing.


Coordination




Coordination as used in the manual, means:





· The intelligent sharing of information and the frank, constructive discussion of issues and possible courses of action.

· Achieving consensus on objectives and an overall strategy.

· The voluntary adoption by those concerned of specific responsibilities and tasks in the context of the agreed objectives and strategy.



Coordination is based on mutual respect for the competencies and agreed responsibilities of each party, and willingness to co-operate in addressing and solving problems in pursuit of a common aim.

Role of the UN resident coordinator

The resident coordinator, also representing UNDRO, is both the UN system’s team leader at country level, and chairman of the UN-DMT. Following the occurrence of a major disaster, the resident coordinator/representative must be ready to give absolute priority to this coordination role, which also includes helping to ensure the coordination of all international emergency assistance.

The resident coordinator should fulfill the general responsibilities indicated in the panel below.

Coordination arrangements for emergencies

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has appointed an Emergency Relief Coordinator at the level of the Under Secretary-General, who has been entrusted with the responsibility for the coordination of emergency assistance as outlined in General Assembly resolution 46/182 of 19 December 1991. The Emergency Relief Coordinator is in charge of the Central Emergency Revolving Find, which has been established as a cashflow mechanism of US$ 50 million to ensure the rapid and coordinated response of the organizations of they system. He has direct access to the Secretary General in New York and maintains contacts with, and provides leadership to, the field Resident Coordinators.

Disaster management responsibilities of the resident coordinator (also representing UNDRO)

On an ongoing basis, the resident coordinator must:

· Ensure that the UN organizations and agencies active in a disaster-prone country are collectively “prepared* to offer appropriate technical and material assistance as part of an overall international response in the event of a disaster.

· Ensure that the same agencies take account of disaster risks in their long-term development programs, and provide concerted assistance in relation to disaster mitigation, in consultation with any national IDNDR committee.

In the event of a “multi-sectoral” disaster:

· Bring the various agencies of the UN system together and ensure the provision of prompt, effective, and concerted multi-disciplinary advice and assistance.

· Maintain contact with the government authority responsible for conducting relief operations. Ensure concerted UN assistance to that authority in assessing the situation and the requirements for international assistance.

· Keep UNDRO informed of the situation and needs for international assistance. Provide a clear statement of priority needs for international assistance rapidly to UNDRO for distribution internationally, and provide similar information to the local representatives of the international community. Update the information continuously to keep it current.

· Recommend that the UN team be reinforced by the appropriate agencies at the country level when necessary.

· Help to secure co-operation and coordination between all international assistance bodies, the government, and other national organizations to ensure proper management of international assistance.

In case of a refugee influx or “mono-sectoral” disaster:

· Consult with the local representative of the competent UN organization or agency (UNHCR or other) to determine what the resident coordinator and UN-DMT should do to support that agency.

Q. State three disaster management roles of UNDP that are distinct from UNDRO and three roles of UNDRO that are distinct from UNDP.



A. ____________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________


______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________


(introduction...)


Figure

The concept of disaster preparedness is quite straightforward. Its objective is to ensure that in times of disasters appropriate systems, procedures and resources are in place to assist those afflicted by the disaster and enable them to help themselves.

The aims of disaster preparedness are to minimize the adverse effects of a hazard through effective precautionary actions, and to ensure timely, appropriate and efficient organization and delivery of emergency response following the impact of a disaster.

This definition establishes the broad framework for disaster preparedness, but it is worth dwelling on some of the points implicit in the definition.

“to minimize the adverse effects of a hazard”

Disaster risk reduction is intended to minimize the adverse effects of a hazard by eliminating the vulnerabilities which hazards otherwise would expose and by directly reducing the potential impact of a hazard before it strikes. Disaster preparedness in its starkest form assumes that certain groups of people will nevertheless remain vulnerable, and that preparedness will have to address the consequences of a hazard’s impact.

“through effective precautionary actions”

It is important to note that the term used is “precautionary actions,” for all too often the end product of disaster preparedness is seen as a static plan to be devised and then filed until it is needed. Disaster preparedness, to the contrary, must be seen as an active and continuing process. Of course, both plans and strategies are required, but they both must be dynamic ventures, which are frequently reviewed, modified, updated and tested.

“to ensure timely, appropriate, and efficient organization and delivery”

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of disaster management is that of timing. Timing also impinges upon the concept of disaster preparedness. Speed and timeliness have often been treated synonymously, a major conceptual flaw. Decisions related to timing must consider the relationship between relief inputs and their effects. In some types of disasters, flood, for example, there are certain basics such as shelter and clothing that may be required immediately. In terms of alleviating immediate distress, speed is critical. However, there are other forms.

Similarly, appropriate assistance demands careful scrutiny. The issue goes beyond the standard stories of canned pork and high heeled shoes to flooded, Muslim communities. The issue goes to the important and natural link between disaster preparedness, recovery and rehabilitation. Ultimately we need to ask if one of the key objectives of disaster preparedness - the provision of appropriate assistance - is designed merely to ensure the immediate survival of affected communities or, in ensuring immediate survival, to simultaneously pave the way for recovery?

“efficient organization and delivery”

Efficient organization and delivery suggest obvious criteria for effective disaster preparedness. Systematic planning, well executed distribution, clear cut roles and responsibilities are all vital. However, too often disaster situations create conditions of chaos. The best laid plans can mitigate but not eliminate the chaos. To the extent possible, preparedness plans should seek to anticipate the sources of chaos and equally as important should try to anticipate what to do when plans go awry. However, where a criterion of efficiency becomes particularly important is in the context of distribution. The key here is to ensure that efficiency is measured in terms of the ability to deliver needed assistance to those most vulnerable. All too often in disaster relief situations, food and non-food relief arrives at the scene of a disaster, but no system or structure has been established to ensure that those in greatest need are the beneficiaries. In the final analysis, the most important test of efficiency is that those in need are adequately provided for.

Components of disaster preparedness

There are nine major components involved in disaster preparedness which provide a framework upon which a national disaster preparedness strategy can be developed.

Disaster Preparedness Framework

Vulnerability Assessment

Planning

Institutional Framework

Information Systems

Resource Base

Warning Systems

Response Mechanisms

Public Education and Training

Rehearsals


Assessing vulnerability

Fundamental to all aspects of disaster management is information. It is a point that may appear obvious, but it is frequently overlooked. The disaster manager may know that a particular geographic region or community is susceptible to the impacts of sudden or slow-onset hazards. However, in reality, until a decision is made on systematic ways to compile and assess information about disaster vulnerabilities, the manager is and will be working in a void.

Developing and compiling vulnerability assessments is one way of approaching a systematic means of establishing an essential disaster management tool. There will be more on this subject in the next chapter.


Planning


Throughout all the activities designed to promote disaster preparedness, the ultimate objective is to have plans in place that are agreed upon, that are implementable and for which commitment and resources are relatively assured. The plan itself will have to address other points in this framework.

Institutional framework


A coordinated disaster preparedness and response system is a prerequisite to any disaster preparedness plan. Each system design will depend upon the traditions and governmental structure of the country under review. However, without ensuring that there is “horizontal coordination” at central government levels among ministries and specialized government bodies and “vertical coordination” between central and local authorities, a plan will rapidly disintegrate. This requires a structure for decision-making, inter-ministerial committees to coordinate the plan, focal points within each ministry to be responsible for the plan implementation and communication, as well as regional and community structures to implement the plan at the local level.

Information systems

The preparedness plan must have an information system. For slow onset disasters this should consist of a formalized data collection process, and early warning system (especially for regions prone to famine), and monitoring system to update the early warning information. For sudden onset disasters a similar system must be in place for prediction, warning, and evacuation communication.

Resource base

The requirements to meet an emergency situation will clearly depend upon the types of hazards the plan anticipates. Such requirements should be made explicit, and should cover all aspects of disaster relief and recovery implementation. The range of relief requirements is too extensive to put in this module, but this list indicates some of the major requirements:

shelter
medicines
food
supplementary food
communications systems
logistics systems
relief workers
clearance equipment


Warning systems


For most types of rapid onset disasters, a warning system can save many lives. By giving a vulnerable population adequate notice of an impending disaster, they can either escape the event or take precautions to reduce the dangers. However, you must assume that functioning communications systems, such as telephones and telexes, may not be available in times of a major disaster. Begin to plan a warning system around that assumption. Consider what type of communications equipment will be needed and sustainable if power lines and receiving stations are destroyed. Preparedness plans should include provisions for access to alternative communication systems among police, military and government networks.

Warning is also critical for slow onset disasters and population displacements. In this case it is called early warning and has to do with information and its distribution regarding either:

giving timely notice of an impending world crisis in the supply of food
making ready for or preventing forced migrations of people.

Response mechanisms

The plan’s ultimate test is the effectiveness of response to warnings and disaster impacts. At a certain stage in the warning process, various responses will have to be mobilized. The staging of responses becomes an essential factor in designing a preparedness plan. Chapter 9 lays out the required responses.

Public education and training


The focus of a disaster preparedness plan should be to anticipate, to the extent possible, the types of requirements needed for action or responses to warnings and a disaster relief operation. The plan should also specify the most effective ways of ensuring that such requirements are met. Yet, the process will only be effective if those who are the ultimate beneficiaries know what to do in times of disasters and know what to expect. For this reason, an essential part of a disaster preparedness plan is the education of those who may be threatened by disaster. Such education takes many forms, such as: (1) Public education in schools for children and young adults, emphasizing what actions should be taken in case of a disaster threat (for example, earthquake tremors); (2) Special training courses, designed for an adult population either specifically or as an extra dimension of on-going programmes such as Preventive Health Care or Maternal and Child Health programmes; (3) Extension programmes, in which community and village-based extension workers are instructed to provide relevant information and trained for the tasks they should undertake during the event; (4) Public information, through mass media, be they television, radio or the printed word, will never really replace the impact of direct instruction. However, if sensitively designed and presented, mass media may provide a useful supplement to the overall educational process.

Rehearsals (drills)


Fujieda, Japan School children practicing an earthquake safety drill.

From Nature on the Rampage. Photo by Paul Chesley.

As military maneuvers cannot fully portray the reality of battle, neither can disaster preparedness rehearsals portray the full dynamics - and potential chaos - of a disaster relief operation. However, that fact should provide no excuse for avoiding the need to rehearse the disaster preparedness plan. Not only will rehearsals reemphasize points made in separate training programmes, but they will also test the system as a whole and, invariably, reveal gaps that otherwise might be overlooked. 1

1 The preceding part of this chapter is drawn from the UNDP/UNDRO training module, Disaster Preparedness. by Randolph Kent.

Preparedness for slow onset and sudden onset disasters

Preparedness activities for slow onset disasters often vary from those of sudden onset. Slow onset disasters may require more active involvement on the part of planners, especially in terms of monitoring early warning systems, for famine, war, and civil strife. The remedial response to problems indicated by the early warning (of potential disasters) is an extension of preparedness.

Preparedness for sudden onset disasters include the monitoring of the predictions and warnings of disasters that may occur within a matter of days or hours. The emergency may develop over a very brief time frame and depend on a very different set of procedures and resources than the slow onset emergency.


Q. On the following list of disaster preparedness components identify at least one responsibility that you, in your official capacity, can or should assume for that component. If you have none, list who is the most responsible agency in your country for that component.



A.


Assessing vulnerability ___________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

Planning ______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

Institutional framework ___________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

Information systems _____________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

Resource base _________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

Warning systems _______________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

Response mechanisms __________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

Public education and training ______________________________________
______________________________________________________________



Rehearsals ____________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________


Preparedness within the United Nations 2

2 The remainder of this chapter is from the UNDP/UNDRO Disaster Management Manual.

The UN system at the country level must be able to facilitate and deliver appropriate and co-ordinated assistance in an emergency. The UN Disaster Management Team (UN-DMT) is the standing inter-agency body for this.

The UN-DMT should meet at regular intervals to:

· review prevention and preparedness arrangements within the country, including the progress of any relevant ongoing development projects

· review preparedness arrangements within the UN team of agencies (as described below)

· discuss the analysis and interpretation of data from in-country and external famine early warning systems

· decide on any specific actions to be taken by members of the group individually and/or collectively

Q. Match the list of disaster preparedness components with the list of examples of each component.



A.

Disaster preparedness components

1. ____

Vulnerability assessment

2. ____

Planning

3. ____

Institutional framework

4. ____

Information systems

5. ____

Resource base

6. ____

Warning systems

7. ____

Response mechanisms

8. ____

Public education and training

9. ____

Rehearsals

Examples

A. Updates to vulnerability assessments
B. Assessment teams and search and rescue
C. A map showing a population living in a flood zone
D. Practice
E. Designing the activities promoting disaster preparedness
F. The required material and logistical support for an emergency
G. Organizational arrangements to maximize coordination
H. A poster explaining what to do when an earthquake hits
I. Communications procedures as part of the system

ANSWER

1 - C
2 - E
3 - G
4 - A
5 - F
6 - I
7 - B
8 - H
9 - D

Checklist of basic information required by a UN-DMT 3

3 From UNDP/UNDRO Disaster Management Manual, Appendix 3B.


In order to facilitate rapid, appropriate responses to disasters, the following kinds of information should be readily available in advance to all members of the UN-DMT.

The Government should have much of this information incorporated and maintained up-to-date in the framework of a national disaster preparedness plan. This information should be made available to the Resident Coordinator, and member agencies of the UN-DMT.

If this information is not available, or only partially available, the UN-DMT should compile and maintain it as a team effort, normally in collaboration with national counterparts. The specialized agencies would each address respective areas of concern. The resident coordinator should see that all sectors are covered.

The check list presented here should be adapted to local circumstances. Special care and attention should be given to information relevant to areas and communities which are particularly vulnerable and disaster-prone.

This checklist often refers to agency or organizational contacts. To keep your information current, you should have for all contacts:

· name
· office address and telephone, fax, and telex numbers
· home address and telephone number
· electronic mail address, if the person has one

You should have the same information for any alternates or deputies.

Disaster profile of country



The history of the incidence and magnitude of particular types of disasters in different areas; their impacts on the population and the economy.


The types of emergency and post-disaster assistance provided from all sources in the past; the effectiveness of that assistance given the problems faced - the lessons learned.


The kinds of needs which can therefore be anticipated in particular areas and circumstances, and the kinds of assistance interventions which might be required.

National policies, objectives and standards



Policies with regard to the soliciting, acceptance and use of international assistance, including external personnel.


The authority delegated to local institutions, and the possible roles of national NGOs and outside assistance agencies.


Policies (both whether or not and how) regarding vaccinations, prophylactic distribution of drugs, the care of unaccompanied children, and salvaging of materials.


Policies and criteria for any distribution of relief: whether to be on a free, for-sale or on-credit basis; what, if any, differentiation should be encouraged within and between different population subgroups.


The particular objectives and standards which should be applied to ration scales for food and water, and any distribution of shelter materials and household supplies.


Specification of the kinds of food and other commodities which are appropriate and acceptable as donations, and those which are not.


General specifications for the kind of energy sources normally preferred for vehicles (diesel or petrol) and generators and pumps (diesel or electric).


General priorities for the restoration of infrastructure and services.


Policies and arrangements for importing emergency assistance supplies, such as arrangements for waiving fees and taxes, and for the clearance of special relief flights.

Government structures for warning and emergency response



The contact responsible for all national hazard forecasting and warning systems.


The government contact (and deputy) normally responsible for the management of emergency relief and post-disaster assistance operations in a central co-ordination body, if one exists. Contacts in individual ministries.


The address and telephone/fax/telex numbers of any national disaster co-ordination centre, and whether and how foreign donor officials will have access to the centre during emergencies.


The procedures established (at national and local levels) for assessing damage, needs and resources following the impact of a disaster.


The contacts in the national disaster management body or the sectoral ministries responsible for arranging and assuring:

· Coordination and liaison with the international community (UN system, embassies. NGOs)
· Search and rescue operations
· Post-disaster surveys and assessments
· Food supply assistance, where needed
· Medical and preventive health care
· Water supplies
· Environmental sanitation
· Emergency shelter and other relief supplies
· Communications
· Logistic services (transport, storage and handling)
· Information management (including records and reports)
· Security


Role of the national armed forces and relationship between the civil and military authorities in directing operations.

Other external and national assistance organizations


The contacts at the principal embassies and donor agencies, the potential contributions of their governments and organizations to post-disaster assistance operations, and the resources they have on immediate call locally.


The contacts at the national Red Cross/Red Crescent Society and the principal NGOs, their potential contributions to emergency and post-disaster assistance operations, and the resources (human, material, and financial) they have on immediate call.

Base-line data on each distinct disaster-prone area


Demographic details: the location, size and socio-economic characteristics of communities, including average family size, sources and levels of income, and any traditional patterns of seasonal migration.


Formal and informal leadership structures, any particular social or religious considerations, traditional community support processes at times of disaster, and any taboos.


General climatic conditions, including day and night temperatures at different times of year.


Local food habits, including weaning practices, of the various socio-economic groups.


“Normal nutritional status of children, including any normal seasonal variations.


Diseases endemic to the area, including prevailing patterns of mortality and morbidity.


Normal sources of water: sources and methods of extraction; treatment; and distribution.


Food supply systems and local production: types, seasonal production cycles and normal yields of both major crops and small gardens, and average on-farm stock retention levels.


Services operating (official and non-official): health, education, rural development, public works, and social welfare. This should include the location and specific nature of the services provided and the personnel employed.


Coverage and general condition of the infrastructure, including roads, telecommunications, and electricity supplies.

Resources: material and human

“Resources” include supplies and services which can be mobilized in-country for emergency and post-disaster assistance operations. Potential sources include government bodies, commercial companies (locally or in a neighboring country), NGOs and other aid organizations and development projects operating in or near the areas at risk.

Medical/health care 4

4 Information should be assured by WHO staff in the context of preparedness profiles issued by WHO headquarters.



Hospitals, clinics and other health facilities: number of beds, ambulances, availability of special equipment, number of trained doctors, nurses and nurses’ aides; contacts at all facilities.


Stocks and sources of medical supplies: names, addresses, and telephone/fax/telex numbers of all medical supply stores; manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and supplies; and laboratories producing vaccines and serums.

Food supplies



Location, capacities, and normal stock levels of food stores; telephone/fax/telex numbers of government marketing boards, food supply departments, commercial importers, food wholesalers, and food aid donors.


Details of existing food rationing and distribution programmes (including food-for-work), their organizational arrangements, procedures, and capacity to meet emergency needs.

Nutrition and epidemiology 5

5 Nutrition aspects may not be a priority concern in the immediate aftermath of a sudden natural disaster, but are crucial in all emergency situations of extended duration, especially droughts, famines, and in all cases involving population displacements.



Nature, location, and capacity of any nutritional rehabilitation (therapeutic feeding) activities; their organizational arrangements, procedures and capacity to meet emergency needs.


Extent and validity of any nutritional status surveys or surveillance programmes: in-country sources of nutritional expertise (with relevant field experience).


Location and capacity of epidemiological surveillance and survey expertise linked to communicable disease control programmes.

Water supplies, hygiene and environmental sanitation



Names, addresses, telephone/telex numbers of producers, large wholesalers, and retail outlets for the following types of supplies, including location and usual stock levels on inventory:

· Water pumps, tanks, pipes and fittings
· Road tankers for hire or purchase
· Lime or other chemicals for water disinfection
· Hard bar soap, detergents, and disinfectants
· Materials for establishing temporary latrines
· Supplies and equipment for vector control operations


The quantities of these supplies normally available in government stocks in specified locations.


The availability of mobile water treatment units and generators through the military or major contractors.


Sources of trained personnel and tools to undertake rapid repairs or to construct new or temporary installations.

Emergency shelter and relief materials



Names, addresses, telephone/telex numbers of producers, large wholesalers, and retail outlets for the following types of supplies, including location and usual stock levels on inventory:

· Heavy-duty tents, tarpaulins, thick polythene sheeting
· Corrugated roofing sheets, lumber, cement
· Blankets
· Cooking pots and utensils (household size, and institutional size for communal kitchens)


The quantities of these supplies normally available in government stocks in specified locations.

Construction equipment



Names, addresses, telephone/telex numbers of road and building contractors, including their approximate availabilities of bulldozers, drag-lines, hoists, cranes, hydraulic jacks, mobile generators, and pumps.


Contact points of government sources for the same types of equipment, for example, within the Ministry of Public Works or Defense.

Communications


Contacts within the responsible authorities for establishing telecommunications services, including the repair of normal systems and the installation of temporary radio networks, where needed.


Policies concerning the use of communications equipment by international teams and aid organizations.

Logistics systems and facilities

Logistics considerations include details of normal transport routes and capacities to and within the disaster-prone areas, and knowledge of the specific logistical problems likely to be faced moving supplies following a disaster.


Roads

· Have copies of the best available maps

· Identify essential road links and best alternative routes

· Mark potential constraints on truck traffic (such as bridge load capacities and ferry movement capacities), and any points vulnerable to occurrences such as flooding or landslides


Trucking capacity

· Government fleets: the number and condition of trucks of specified types and capacities in different departments and locations which might be available to transport relief supplies

· Commercial capacity: private transport contractors able to operate to or within the areas concerned, including details of their fleets, the locations of their offices and maintenance facilities, and normal rates


Railways

· Track gauges, wagon capacities, and any loading constraints on various lines

· Daily movement capacities on various lines, and the numbers of locomotives and wagons which might be available during each season

· Reliability and operational constraints, including any feasible measures to improve performance


Sea and river ports

· Harbor depths, quay lengths, cargo handling equipment
· Daily discharge capacity, and seasonal patterns of exports and imports
· Size of covered and open storage areas, and amount normally available at different seasons
· Normal offtake capacities: road and rail.


Coastal and river craft

· Government craft: the numbers and condition of boats, tugs and barges (of specified types and capacities) in different locations which might be available for rescue operations or to transport relief supplies

· Commercial capacity: contacts with private shipping contractors able to operate in the areas concerned, including details of their fleets and normal rates


Airports and air-strips

· The precise locations and the length, width, surface and load classification of runways in the affected areas

· Largest type of aircraft able to operate

· Fuel availability (avgas and jet fuel)

· Navigation and landing aids, and hours open for flying

· Cargo handling equipment and storage capacity


Aircraft and air transport

· Government: number and types of aircraft and helicopters likely to be available to transport personnel and relief supplies; the approximate costs of operation of military and other government aircraft and helicopters

· National airline and other companies: number and types of aircraft and helicopters likely to be available to transport personnel and relief supplies; approximate charter costs


Storage and handling

· Government warehouses: the location, size, and type of stores in different areas which might be available for relief supplies; the general condition of the stores, level of security, access to road and rail transport, the availability of pallets, hand trucks, and forklifts, and the adequacy of staff and record systems

· Private warehouses: as above for stores which might be requisitioned or rented.


Fuel supplies (diesel and petrol)

· The locations, capacities, and normal stock levels of government and commercial fuel storage depots; the arrangements by which fuel can be drawn or delivered from those depots.

Q. The information referred to in the checklist must be assembled from a variety of sources. Where would you be able to obtain the information requested under each main heading?



A.


Disaster profile of country _________________________________________
National policies, objectives and standards ___________________________
Gov’t structures for warning/post-disaster response _____________________
Other external and national assistance organizations ___________________
Base-line data on each distinct disaster-prone area _____________________

Human and material resources:



Medical/health care ____________________________________________
Food supplies ________________________________________________
Nutrition and epidemiology ______________________________________
Water supplies, hygiene and environmental sanitation ________________
Emergency shelter and relief materials ____________________________
Construction equipment ________________________________________


Communications ________________________________________________

Logistics systems and facilities:



Roads ______________________________________________________
Trucking capacity _____________________________________________
Railways ____________________________________________________
Sea and river ports ____________________________________________
Coastal and river craft _________________________________________
Airports and air-strips __________________________________________
Aircraft and air transport _______________________________________
Storage and handling __________________________________________
Fuel supplies _________________________________________________




Q. In your opinion what agency should be responsible for collecting, up-dating and communicating this information.

A.
______________________________________________________________


______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________


(introduction...)

1 This chapter has been drawn from the UNDP/UNDRO training module Vulnerability and Risk Assessment written by A.W. Coburn. R.J.S. Spence and A. Pomonis


This chapter considers the nature of risk; discusses the techniques by which natural hazards and the accompanying risk of future losses can be estimated; and it discusses the ways in which future risk estimates can be used to assist the choice of the optimum disaster mitigation strategy.

First, let us review the definitions of the key terms. Risk is the expected lives lost, persons injured, property damaged, and economic activity disrupted due to a particular hazard. Risk is the probability of a disaster occurring and resulting in a particular level of loss.

Risk assessment determines the scale of the estimated losses which can be anticipated in particular areas during a specified time period.

Risk management

One of the underlying principles of this training module is that most people working in development are involved in disaster management at one time or another. Even if you, as a generalist or a sectoral specialist, do not have an active role to play in some of the other disaster phases, you do play an important role when it comes to risk management. The design of development projects should include an exercise in risk management.

The overall task of risk management must include both an estimation of the magnitude of a particular risk and an evaluation of how important to us the risk is. The process of risk management therefore has two parts: risk assessment and risk evaluation. Risk assessment requires the quantification of the risk from data and understanding the processes involved. Risk evaluation is the judgment that a society places on the risks that face them in deciding what to do about them.

Risk probability

Risks are often quantified in generalized ways. For example, there is a probability of an individual dying in any one year of: 1 in 200 if he or she smokes 10 cigarettes a day; 1 in 23,000 in an earthquake in Iran; and 1 in 10,000,000 of being hit by lightning in the USA. Such gross risk estimates can be useful for comparative purposes, but usually conceal large variations in the risk to individuals or different regions. In the case of Iran, people who live closer to an earthquake fault are at greater risk than those that live far away. Similarly, people who live in poorly constructed masonry houses near a fault are more at risk than those who may live nearby in well built wood structures.

The first step in risk management, therefore, is quantifying the probability of the risk. The second step is evaluating the risk, that is, passing judgment on how serious it is. The importance a community places on the risk of a disaster is likely to be influenced by the type and level of other everyday risks it faces. Even if the risk from a natural hazard is quite significant, it is unlikely to compare, for example, with the risk of child mortality in a society with minimal primary health care. Villages in the hazardous mountain valleys of Northern Pakistan, regularly afflicted by floods, earthquakes, and landslides, do not perceive disaster mitigation to be one of their priorities. Their priorities are protection against the greater risks of disease and irrigation failures.

As societies develop economically, risk reduction is likely to assume greater importance to them. Development itself can increase the likelihood of disasters, but as societies become richer more resources can be made available to invest in some degree of protection. Protection of the development process itself becomes a disaster mitigation issue.

Acceptable levels of risk


Many risks are associated with benefits. Living close to a volcano may bring the benefit of fertile soils for good agriculture. Generally, though, the exposure to natural and environmental hazards does not have any specific benefit associated with it - the exposure is a simple consequence of living or working in a particular location. This can have the effect of making such risks less acceptable than those from which some benefit is obtained. Generally the acceptable levels of risk appear to increase according to the benefits derived from being exposed to it. However, the acceptable level of risk appears to decrease over time as more people become exposed to a particular type of risk.

Assessing risk and vulnerability

The estimation of probably future losses is a matter of increasing interest to those concerned with development planning in hazard-prone regions. Fundamental to disaster preparedness and mitigation planning is an understanding of what to expect. This needs to be quantified, if only in a crude and approximate way, in terms of the degree of risk faced, the size of event that is likely, and the consequences of an event if it occurs.

The calculation of risk generally needs to consider several types of loss. The most common parameter of loss, and the one most easily dealt with, is economic cost. Cost is widely used because many types of loss can be converted into economic cost. Effects which are considered in terms of economic costs are known as tangible losses. But there are a range of other effects resulting from disasters which are important but which cannot be converted into a monetary equivalent, and these are referred to as intangible losses.

A full consideration of risk would include a complete range of effects, both tangible and intangible, and of several qualitatively different types. The range of undesirable consequences of natural hazards what we might consider as loss parameters are listed in Table 1.

Table 1 Loss parameters for risk analysis


Losses

Consequences

Measure

Tangible

Intangible

Deaths

Number of people

Loss of economically active individuals

Social and psychological effects on remaining community

Injuries

Number and injury severity

Medical treatment needs, temporary loss of economic activity by productive individuals

Social and psychological.
Pain and recovery

Physical damage

Inventory of damaged elements, by number and damage level

Replacement and repair cost

Cultural losses

Emergency operations

Volume of manpower, man-days employed, equipment and resources expended for relief

Mobilization costs, investment in preparedness capability

Stress and overwork in relief participants

Disruption to economy

Number of working days lost, volume of production lost

Value of lost production

Opportunities, competitiveness, reputation

Social disruption

Number of displaced persons, homeless

Temporary housing, relief, economic production

Psychological, Social contacts, cohesion, community morale

Environmental impact

Scale and severity

Clean-up costs, repair cost

Consequences of poorer environment, health risks, risk of future disaster

How is risk determined?

There are three essential components in the determination of risk, each of which should be separately quantified:

a) the hazard occurrence probability: the likelihood of experiencing any natural or technological hazard at a location or in a region

b) the elements at risk: identifying and making an inventory of people or buildings or other elements which would be affected by the hazard if it occurred, and where required, estimating their economic value

c) the vulnerability of the elements at risk: how damaged the buildings or injured the people or other elements would be if they experienced some level of hazard.


Figure

There is a variety of methods of presenting the above information to illustrate the data describing risk. These can often be represented on a map. This is an essential tool in evaluating development projects because you can see if a project site is located in an area of high risk.

An example of mapping is the Potential Loss Study. This consists of mapping the effect of expected hazard occurrence probability across a region or country. It shows the location of communities likely to suffer heavy losses. The effect of the hazard of each area is calculated for each of the communities within those areas to identify the “Communities Most at Risk”. This shows, for example, which towns or villages are likely to suffer highest losses, which should be priorities for loss-reduction programs, and which are likely to need most aid or rescue assistance in the event of a major disaster.

The following is an example of potential loss mapping. It presents risk as the levels of losses that would occur if a certain level of hazard were to occur at all the locations simultaneously. In this case the type of loss plotted (Map 4) is urban earthquake casualties in Turkey. Casualties are defined as those people whose houses are liable to be totally destroyed by the largest expected earthquake - a measure used because it has been found in Turkey to correlate closely with the numbers of killed and injured. The potential loss plotted in each location is derived from three other types of geographically varying data, which are shown in Maps 1,2 and 3. (See figure. 8.1)

Figure 8.1 Potential loss study

Map 1 shows the earthquake hazard in terms of the maximum intensity of earthquake which might possible occur there.


1 - HAZARD

Map 2 shows the elements at risk - in this case the total size of the urban population. Larger towns and dries are plotted individually, and are identified by circles whose area represents the population. The population in the smaller towns of 2,000 to 25,000 population is shown in the form of a population density. Other elements at risk could be mapped in a similar way.


2 - ELEMENTS AT RISK (population)

Map 3 shows one aspect of the vulnerability of those elements at risk. The casualties are caused by the collapse of buildings. The vulnerability of a building depends primarily on the type of construction. A useful approximate classification of the building types in Turkey divides them into just three types: rubble and adobe walls, brick and timber walls, and reinforced concrete frame. An estimate has been made about the expected proportions of buildings that will collapse.


3 - VULNERABILITY

Map 4 shows the analysis of the three preceding maps for each location. This is derived by estimating the numbers of people living in each building type, (from Maps 2 and 3) and then estimating the potential proportion of collapsed buildings of each type if the largest earthquake were to occur there. The total potential casualties are obtained by adding those from all three building types.


4 - CASUALTY RISK (potential loss of life)

Vulnerability evaluation

Vulnerability is the propensity of things to be damaged by a hazard. People’s lives and health are at risk directly from the destructive effects of the hazard. Their incomes and livelihood are at risk because of the destruction of the buildings, crops, livestock or equipment which these depend on. Each type of hazard puts a somewhat different set of elements at risk. Most of disaster mitigation work is focused on reducing vulnerability, and in order to act to reduce vulnerability, development planners need an understanding of which elements are most at risk from the principal hazards which have been identified.

Vulnerability assessment is the process of estimating the vulnerability to potential disaster hazards of specified elements at risk. For general socio-economic purposes it involves consideration of all significant elements in society, including physical, social and economic considerations, and the extent to which essential services will be able to continue functioning.

As we have noted in Chapter 1 the root causes of vulnerability to disasters in developing countries are poverty and inequitable development. Rapid population growth, urban or mass migration, inequitable patterns of land ownership, lack of education, and subsistence agriculture on marginal lands lead to vulnerable conditions such as unsafe siting of buildings and settlements, unsafe homes, deforestation, malnutrition, unemployment, underemployment, and illiteracy.

It is the interface between these vulnerable conditions and natural hazards such as an earthquake, tropical storm, drought, and heavy rains, that results in a disaster or protracted emergency. (See Fig. 1.1)

Vulnerability derived from poverty can best be addressed by long-term development projects targeted at the underlying reasons that large population groups remain poor, while at the same time introducing measure to mitigate disaster effects.

Vulnerability may also be a result of factors more easily solved by specific risk reduction measures. These factors include inappropriate building codes and materials, and a lack of public awareness. However, many of these measures depend on the extent of a society’s development. For example, it is unrealistic to expect building codes to be enforced where governments do not have staff and resources to carry out inspections. Likewise, public awareness depends, to some extent, on the community’s educational level and the availability of communication facilities, which are frequently deficient in developing countries.

Vulnerability and risk assessment is the link between development project implementation and disaster mitigation. In UNDP, for example, a proposed project should be examined against the vulnerability and risk of the project location. If the location or the nature of the project design are inherently vulnerable to disasters, then the location should be reconsidered or disaster mitigation/risk reduction measures must be taken. (See Chapter 13 for additional discussion on how this may be achieved.)

Reducing vulnerability for displaced persons

Much of the preceding discussion on vulnerability and risk relates more to sudden onset disasters than slow onset disasters and population displacements. Nevertheless, much of the assessment process and technologies apply to these situations. For example, mapping of hazards is also of prime concern to identify areas subject to drought, or even civil conflict. Meeting the needs of a migrating population or one recently arrived at a new location will be assisted by mapping the best routes and survival resources along the way. Strategies for vulnerability reduction in zones of conflict might include development inputs which can reduce the conflict, such as installing water points for nomads in areas where water is a scarce resource subject to competition.

These topics are discussed in more detail in the special topic modules “Disaster Mitigation” and “Vulnerability and Risk Assessment.”

In summary, because hazards tend to be uncontrollable, much mitigation work is centered on reducing vulnerability. Improved economic conditions reduce many aspects of vulnerability and a sound economy may in many cases be the best defense against disasters and emergencies.

Q. Imagine that you are working for an agency responsible for the economic development of a community in an area where tropical storms occur. You want to do an analysis of the most appropriate types of projects to achieve economic development. As part of your analysis how would you conduct a risk and vulnerability assessment?



A. ___________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________


______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________


ANSWER

Step one: Review the history of tropical storms to estimate the probability of one occurring during the lifetime of your project.

Step two: Inventory the elements at risk.

Step three: Determine the vulnerability of the elements at risk by estimating

a) how badly damaged the buildings might be.
b) the number of people potentially killed or injured.

c) the level of disruption or employment or the economic base of your project