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
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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
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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
View the documentHow is risk determined?
View the documentVulnerability evaluation
View the documentReducing vulnerability for displaced persons
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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
View the documentSearch and rescue
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
View the documentHow assessment data is used
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
View the documentAlert message and field sitreps
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
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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
View the documentTiming for mitigation
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

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 audience’s 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 course’s 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 management

stimulate motivation

link the learning to your work activities

relate the learning to your values and attitudes about disaster management

We hope this will be achieved through your reading of this text and completing the suggested exercises. Specifically, you should be able to do the following:

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.

A. ____________________________________________________________


Compare your reasons with those of others that are on the following paragraphs.

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 UN’s principal activities. In disaster-prone countries UNDP’s 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. UNDRO’s 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 appropriate support.

Training methods

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

· group discussions
· simulations/role plays
· supplementary handouts
· videos
· review sessions
· self-assessment exercises

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 discussion questions.