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
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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
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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

Disruption of development by disasters

Disasters can seriously disrupt development initiatives in several ways, including:

· Loss of resources
· Interruption of programs
· Impact on investment climate
· Impact on the non-formal sector
· Political destabilization

Loss of resources

Development resources are lost when a disaster wipes out the products of investment - it shortens the life of development investments. The disasters affect development through:

· Impact on capital stock and inventory

· Loss of production and provision of services due to disruption and increased cost of goods and services

· The secondary effects of the disaster include inflation, balance of payment problems, increase in fiscal expenditure, decreases in monetary reserves

· Other indirect losses, for example: the impact on a country’s debt position could be that as the debt service burden increases, the country has less resources available to invest in productive enterprises

· The outcome of these losses of resources include: loss of economic growth, delays to development programs, cancellation of programmes, and disincentives to new investment

· There may also be a shift in skilled human resources toward high visibility recovery activity - a diversion from long-term to short-term needs.

Interruption of programs

Disasters interrupt ongoing programs and divert resources from originally planned uses.

Impact on investment climate

Disasters, especially when they have occurred repeatedly within a short period of time, have a negative impact on the incentive for further investment. Investors need a climate of stability and certainty to be encouraged to risk their money. The disaster further clouds the investment picture when it has caused loss of employment, thereby depressing market demand, and resulting in a stagnation which limits overall growth.

Impact on non-formal sector

Disasters have special negative impacts on the non-formal sector where approximate costs of disasters are often underestimated. Disasters depress the non-formal economy through the direct costs of lost equipment and housing (which often also serves as business sites). The indirect costs of disasters include lost employment, and lost income. Sometimes the importation of relief items creates disincentives to producers.

Political destabilization

The stress to a country caused by a disaster often results in the destabilization of the government. This may occur for several reasons. For example, the government may have mismanaged the disaster relief and recovery, leading to discontent on the part of affected communities. Or the survivors may have had unmet expectations which, for whatever reason, translate into some form of protest. The government could also become the scapegoat for problems beyond its control, again leading to its possible downfall. In fact, it is very common for a government to collapse or be overthrown within two or three years of a major disaster.

Q. Recall the most recent disaster with which you are familiar. Based on that experience, respond to the following.



Identify a facility critical to the local economy that was knocked out of service.


Name one development project that was interrupted.


Identify one case of an investment that was withdrawn or reduced because of the disaster.


Identify one case of non-formal sector employment that was lost because disaster relief displaced the need for it.


Describe an example of how the government may have been destabilized by the disaster.