D4 Who is most at risk?

Disasters

Certain groups of people are much more at risk from the impact of disaster.

  • These include people who have problems in physically getting away from the disaster, such as the elderly, the disabled, pregnant women and women with young children.
  • It includes people who will find it hard to recover from the impact of a disaster, such as the young or the poor.
  • It includes people who for some reason have fewer resources. Maybe their farms are too small to produce extra food to store, they have no animals or a family member has died recently.
  • Groups which are excluded from the community because of racial, tribal or caste differences may have no opportunity to share resources and support during and following a disaster.

Discussion 
  • Imagine that a large dam across a big river, some 100km upstream of our community, develops huge cracks. The authorities know that it is likely to burst within the next 24 hours. They warn all communities downstream to evacuate immediately using radio broadcasts and officials with loudspeakers. Discuss how people in your community would be affected.
  • What would be the quickest and safest escape route to use?
  • Consider the different types of people in our community. How will they be affected immediately following a disaster, and in the long term after several weeks or months?
  • Who is most likely to suffer serious effects? Why?
  • How could you plan to help the groups of people likely to suffer the most serious impact?
  • What local organisations are there who might be able to help you in this?