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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 folderChapter 3. Linking disasters and development 1
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentDisruption of development by disasters
View the documentHow development may cause disasters
View the documentDevelopment opportunities afforded by disasters

Development opportunities afforded by disasters

Despite an increasing disaster awareness in the international community, and the recognition of the importance of developing coherent plans for relief activities, it often takes the actual or imminent occurrence of a large-scale destructive event to stimulate individual governments to think about a developmental approach. Thus, a disaster can serve as a catalyst for introducing mitigation activities.

Few development workers realize the opportunities that disasters can provide in the development field. Disasters often create a political and economic atmosphere wherein extensive changes can be made more rapidly than under normal circumstances. For example, in the aftermath of a disaster, there may be major opportunities to execute land reform programmes, to improve the overall housing stock, to create new jobs and job skills, and to expand and modernize the economic base of the community - opportunities that would not otherwise be possible. The collective will to take action is an advantage that should not be wasted.

Disasters can also highlight high-risk areas where action must be taken before another disaster strikes. The realization of vulnerability can motivate policy-makers and the public to participate in mitigation activities. Disasters may also serve to highlight the fact that the country is seriously under-developed. They can thus bring in funding and the attention of donor communities to apply to long-term development needs. (Henderson, 1990)