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close this bookDisaster Mitigation - 2nd Edition (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - Disaster Management Training Programme - United Nations Development Programme , 1994, 64 p.)
close this folderPart 3 - Mitigation strategies
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAims and methods
View the documentEconomics of mitigation
View the documentPracticalities of mitigation
View the documentOpportunities for mitigation: post-disaster implementation
View the documentEmpowerment and community-based mitigation
View the documentSUMMARY

Empowerment and community-based mitigation

Successful mitigation practices must involve collaboration between the local community and larger-scale development agencies. The local community must be aware of the risk and concerned to take action to prevent it: in this they may need technical assistance, material assistance and help in building their own capabilities. These forms of assistance may not be available in the poorest most vulnerable communities, in which case they need to be provided by external agencies. One of the most effective ways in which such an agency can help promote community protection is by enabling communities to formulate their own project proposals and negotiate with government and the larger development agencies (or government agencies) for the necessary government actions and the material assistance they need. This is especially true for technologically based engineering projects, such as large embankments, spillways, and diversion works. For example construction of community defences based solely on hand-labor and local materials alone may result in poor disaster defences. But local labor supplemented by heavy machinery, and local materials bonded by factory-made materials (e.g. cement or wire mesh) provided from external sources can result in lasting defences which the local community will be able to trust and maintain in the long term. Similarly a community-based mitigation program may need government action to provide land for safer resettlement of the most vulnerable, which can most effectively be determined by the community itself.

The empowerment of the community created by achieving such goals and obtaining assistance from government agencies is likely to be a lasting development benefit.


The empowerment of the local community acquired through negotiating assistance from government agencies can be a lasting development benefit.

A government bulldozer cleans debris from a mud-flow in the Rimac Valley according to plans drawn up by PREDES in consultation with the local community.