Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster Risk Reduction/Resilience (DRR/R) involves working with individuals, communities, government, and other stakeholders to reduce risk and strengthen resilience to natural and manmade hazards experienced in target areas.

DRR/R Outcomes:

  • Obtain, analyze, and communicate information on risks of natural and manmade disasters
  • Build community awareness
  • Increase knowledge, skills and abilities at community level and with local governments to reduce risks to disasters
  • Decrease community vulnerability to disasters and enhance resilience
  • Coordinate action to decrease risks
  • Create action plans and strategies to reduce risks

Vulnerable groups are those most impacted by these hazards and are therefore the primary target of most DRR activities. Involvement of government stakeholders at all levels, either involved specifically in disaster management or in associated fields, is common in the DRR/R field. Building capacity of government actors to ensure participatory planning processes (see below) continue after the conclusion of a project is essential to ensure sustainability of project activities.

The CRS approach to DRR supports programs and partners countries to achieve the goals, guiding principles, and priorities for action of the global Sendai Framework for Action on DRR (2015-2030)[1] which aims for the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods, health and assets.

At CRS, our DRR/R work is always done with involvement of community groups in a process called Community Led Disaster Risk Management (CLDRM). CLDRM works with diverse stakeholders through a 10-step approach with the end goal of developing an action plan designed to either mitigate, prepare for, respond to, or recover from specific hazards like floods, storms, landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis, drought, fire, pests, disease, conflict, etc.

CLDRM activities, and DRR/R more generally strive to be cross cutting in nature as the output of community action plans will often overlap with other sectors such as Food Security/Livelihoods, Shelter/Settlements and WASH. The sector is also seen as a “bridge sector” because, in addition to engaging in the humanitarian space, DRR/R activities are commonplace in development work as well, engaging with agriculture, natural resource management and peace building actors. Important to our DRR/Resilience approach is also ensuring environmental stewardship and sustainability at three levels, economic, ecological and social. In this sense, linking to groups/ collectives/ associations to enhance social cohesion, help people spread risk and pool resources is an important element of the resilience building approach.  Our integrated model brings together a variety of thematic areas, examples of action plans include:

  • Tree/vegetation plantation to reduce risk of flooding or stabilize slopes
  • Hazard resistant construction techniques for houses, community buildings, and WASH infrastructure
  • Alternative construction materials that have less impact on natural environment
  • Rehabilitation of community infrastructure (drainage canals, bridges, roads etc.)
  • Community clean up campaigns
  • Improving Early Warning Systems through increased monitoring, preparedness actions and message dissemination
  • Mock drills and community disaster simulations
  • First Aid Trainings
  • Climate resilient agriculture techniques
  • Safe storage for grains/seeds
  • Community recycling campaigns/improved solid waste management
  • Protecting assets and essential documents
  • Agroclimatic forecasting
  • On-farm soil and water management
  • Watershed/natural resource management

DRR/R is closely linked to Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and it is not uncommon to see them referred to together as DRR/CCA. This is because many activities at the local level address short term, but also longer-term needs that will work with vulnerable groups to adapt to the impact of a changing climate. DRR/CCA is also linked to environmental management more broadly as many natural hazards are connected to the way in which human beings interact with the natural environment (for example, deforestation can contribute to increased flooding, etc.). Because of this, DRR/R activities interface with environmental challenges and in many contexts, the results of action plans focus on improved management of natural resources.

DRR/R is chronically underfunded compared to other humanitarian sectors because there is a still a focus on reacting to disasters, rather than proactively addressing risk reduction before they occur. We typically see the most funding available for DRR/R activities during the recovery phase of a disaster when donors see the need to prioritize the need to reduce future risk. Depending on the context, DRR/R can take place as early as 3 months following a disaster. DRR/R projects last anywhere between 9 – 24 months although they can last much longer (3 – 5 years) when working with the development sectors mentioned above.

For additional support please contact the DRR/R Team at [email protected]