|Disasters and Development (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - United Nations Development Programme , 1994, 55 p.)|
|PART 2 - Understanding and exploiting disaster/development linkages|
The term mitigation is increasingly applied to measures which reduce economic losses, as well as those which reduce death and injury. To restate the distinction between the two types of mitigation, structural mitigation includes measures to reduce the economic and social impact of hazard agents and involve construction programs, especially dams, windbreaks, terracing and hazard resistant buildings. Non-structural mitigation is most commonly used to refer to policies and practices, including land-use policies, zoning, crop diversification, building codes, and procedures for forecasting and warning. In a broader context, non-structural mitigation can also include education, awareness, environmental understanding, community organization, and empowerment strategies.
Mitigation is most effective as part of a medium- to long-term development program which incorporates hazard-reduction measures into regular investment projects.
Mitigation is most effective as part of a medium- to long-term development program which incorporates hazard-reduction measures into regular investment projects. Under these conditions risks can be assessed analytically and explicitly in the context of national planning and investment program reviews. The cost effectiveness of specific emergency preparedness measures and hazard reduction activities can be assessed. There are opportunities to build links between government and international organizations involved in relief and recovery and provide opportunities for investment institutions to help governments gain access to new developments in hazard-reduction technologies. In regular investment project design and sector loans, attention can be given to early warning systems and other elements of emergency preparedness through financial or technical assistance.
These uses of development programs to decrease vulnerability will increasingly be incorporated into every level of program and project preparation and review within UNDP country programming and other financial and technical assistance projects. Structured review procedures will require that the disaster implications of new projects be explicitly taken into consideration.
There is a wide range of options for incorporating mitigation measures into regular development programs. Each of the following examples will suggest ways of protecting populations and critical economic assets against hazards and of reducing the overall impact of a disaster.
Investments in transport and communications also improve a countrys ability to respond to, and recover from, a major emergency. For example, improvements in road capacity will usually make evacuation easier. Better communications will often lead to improved early warning and more effective preparedness and response measures. Investments in airports and bridges can help speed up the delivery of relief resources.