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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 2. Disaster terminology and phases
close this folderPhases of a disaster
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentRapid onset disasters
View the documentSlow onset disasters

Slow onset disasters

The sequence of a disaster continuum for slow onset disasters is similar in framework but has important distinctions. The following terms and definitions reflect those additions or modifications. See Figure 2.2.

Figure 2.2. Slow onset disaster management continuum

Early warning

Early warning is the process of monitoring situations in communities or areas known to be vulnerable to slow onset hazards. For example, famine early warning may be reflected in such indicators as drought, livestock sales, or changes in economic conditions. The purposes of early warning are to enable remedial measures to be initiated and to provide more timely and effective relief including through disaster preparedness actions.

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Emergency phase

The emergency phase is the period during which extraordinary measures have to be taken. Special emergency procedures and authorities may be applied to support human needs, sustain livelihoods, and protect property to avoid the onset of disaster. This phase can encompass pre-disaster, disaster alert, disaster relief and recovery periods. An emergency phase may be quite extensive, as in a slow onset disaster such as a famine. It can also be relatively short-lived, as after an earthquake.

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Rehabilitation is the action taken after a slow onset disaster where attention must be given to the issues of resettlement or returnee programmes, particularly for people who have been displaced for reasons arising out of conflict or economic collapse.

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Q. Test your recall of the two disaster continuum diagrams. Label each circles below with the phases of a rapid onset and slow onset disaster.