Disaster Risk Reduction
Helping countries and communities predict and prepare for disasters minimizes losses, reduces vulnerabilities and builds adaptive capacities to confront disaster impacts, all while safeguarding development gains.
Disaster Risk Management in the Face of Climate Change
Climate-related shocks and stressors are occurring with increasing frequency around the globe. These disaster events often diminish ecological safeguards and ecosystem services that can protect vulnerable communities. Recurrent droughts, changing precipitation patterns, more intense storms and rising temperatures and sea levels create new risks. These disaster events also exacerbate existing social, economic and environmental pressures like urbanization, land use change and environmental degradation. Early warning systems, anticipatory action, land use planning, and ecological conservation, can support disaster resilience by anticipating and preparing for climate impacts.
Climate Change and Disasters: Interrupting the Cycle
Climate change is closely intertwined with the intensifying perils of disasters. USAID and the broader international development community understand that disaster risk management requires a multipronged approach that accounts for the ecological and social complexities of each disaster’s context.
The following are examples of ways to improve disaster risk reduction in vulnerable communities:
- Improve early warning systems (EWSs). EWSs warn people about hazards, ideally with enough lead time to help vulnerable populations avoid catastrophic consequences. When enabled through digital technology, “people-centered” EWSs prioritize the needs of vulnerable populations by building relevant, accessible warning messages around the actions people must take to stay safe. Assessing and improving warning systems based on lessons learned can also help to optimize EWSs in a people-centered way.
- Understand social dynamics. Different groups face different consequences during and after a disaster. For example, women in developing countries are more vulnerable to disasters than their male counterparts because it is harder for women to access shelter, transportation and information on preparedness. Girls may be at risk of prematurely leaving school if a disaster affects their families’ ability to afford tuition. Boys may be at risk of prematurely leaving school if their families feel that they need their sons’ labor. To achieve disaster resilience, communities must consider differences that make disasters uniquely harmful to certain groups and certain individuals.
- Incorporate climate risk management (CRM) into development activities. USAID requires the design of new strategies, projects and activities to take climate-related risks into account. CRM can help to manage and reduce moderate or high climate risks, and may point to opportunities.
Prepare for shocks and stressors in vulnerable communities. Shocks are “external, short-term deviations from long-term trends,” such as disasters, that cause harm to people and communities. To effectively address shocks and stresses, a proactive approach involves: (1) anticipate shocks in regions that are vulnerable to recurrent crises, (2) help vulnerable communities build the capacity to withstand shocks before they happen and (3) make preemptive plans to disperse aid so that valuable time will not be lost in the event of a crisis.
This approach to promoting climate and environmental sensitivity, risk reduction and resilience capacity-building works best when applied equally to operations, staffing and partnerships as a foundation for an enabling environment.
More About Disaster Risk Reduction
Making Voices Heard: How Digital Technologies Help Hear from People in Remote Areas
03 Oct 2023 - World Bank Group , Bahar Salimova , Hadil Ali Mohammed Al-Ashwal
Learn how GEMS is using geo-enabling technology to equalize voices and bring beneficiaries and citizens in hard-to-reach areas to the table.
Leveraging Digital Technologies to Enable Program Monitoring in Remote, Fragile, and Conflict-Affected Areas
03 Oct 2023 - World Bank Group
Digital technology like the World Bank’s Geo-Enabling initiative for Monitoring and Supervision enables remote project monitoring in Somalia and other challenging contexts.
Resilience Evidence Forum 2023 Synthesis Report
19 Sep 2023 - USAID , Global Resilience Partnership
Explore key discussions held at the June 2023 Resilience Evidence Forum in this comprehensive guide to resilience-building methodologies and evidence.
Windows of Opportunity for Risk-Informed Humanitarian Assistance: An Anticipatory, Early Action, and Disaster Risk Finance Framework
20 Sep 2023, GMT -5 - USAID
Launch a new toolset to strengthen organizational readiness for risk financing, anticipatory, and early action in the face of climate risks.