Purpose and scope
This training module, Disaster Mitigation, is
designed to introduce this aspect 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. This training is designed to
increase the audience's awareness of the nature and management of disasters,
leading to better performance in disaster preparedness and response.
The content has been written by experts in the field of disaster
management and in general follows the UNDP/UNDRO Disaster Management Manual
and its principles, procedures, and terminology. However, terminology in
this field is not standardized and authors from different institutions may use
the same terms in slightly different ways. Therefore, there is a glossary of
terms used in this module at the end of this text. Definitions found in the
glossary are those of the UNDP/UNDRO Disaster Management Manual.
Definitions in the text are those of the UNDRO expert meeting, 1979.
Overview of this module
Disaster mitigation is the term used to refer to all actions to
reduce the impact of a disaster that can be taken prior to its occurrence,
including preparedness and long-term risk reduction measures.
It includes both the planning and implementation of measures to
reduce the risks associated with known natural and human-made hazards, and the
process of planning for effective response to disasters which do occur.
The purpose of this training module is to introduce the trainee
to basic mitigation concepts and to discuss the range of mitigation actions
which can be considered as a response to the variety of natural and human-made
hazards which may be encountered.
The first section discusses the concept of mitigation and
briefly surveys the range of hazards which may need to be considered, describing
their nature, consequences and some of the mitigation actions specific to each.
The second section decribes the types of mitigation actions
which might be appropriate, including engineering and construction, physical
planning, economic, institutional and social measures, discussing the usefulness
and potential limitations of each type.
The third section considers how the various types of measures
available may be combined to form a comprehensive disaster mitigation strategy,
how alternative possible strategy options may be assessed, and discusses
opportunities and obstacles to implementation of disaster mitigation plans.
The final section looks at the role of the UN, and in particular
DHA and UNDP in promoting the incorporation of disaster mitigation into a
country's own development planning and institution-building processes, and
examines the possible contribution of other UN agencies to this activity.
The module should be read in conjunction with the accompanying
modules on Disasters and Development and on Vulnerability and Risk
Assessment, with which part of its scope overlaps, and which treat certain
aspects of disaster mitigation in greater detail.
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 accompanying
"training guide". For the self-study learner the text is as close to a tutor as
can be managed in print.
Workshop training methods include:
· supplementary handouts
The self-study learner is 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 in the text.