Recovering from disasters and crises
In emergency response projects, it is very important to do ‘recovery’ well. For most projects this is the time when the activities end. For protracted crises, this is a very difficult stage if the circumstances that keep populations in a place of humanitarian need have not changed.
There is no clear point where humanitarian ends and development begins. Rather, there is often a time when peacebuilding, humanitarian response and development all have to operate together.
Building back better
Building back better is often associated with ensuring earthquake building codes are adhered to, or a school is reconstructed with better access to toilets. However, ‘building back better’ goes far deeper. We ask ourselves: ‘How can we better target the most marginalised and excluded?’, or ‘How do we ensure protection and gender practices are integrated and adhered to by the community?’
These questions ensure that should another crisis or disaster hit, we have placed the greatest emphasis on those who would be affected most, ensuring that their previous trauma or marginalised status is not compounded further.
Church and disasters
When disasters happen, the church is often the first place that people turn to for emotional and physical support. It is crucial to help churches and their communities to prevent disasters, reduce their impact when they do occur, and rebuild livelihoods and communities in the aftermath.
Disaster management is best achieved when local churches and their communities work together with specialist NGOs and relief agencies. Our resources explore the strengths and weaknesses of the church in disaster management, and the potential complementary roles it can play alongside specialist agencies.
Discover our resources on the church and disasters
Read more about the church and resilience
Advocacy and disasters
Strategic advocacy aimed at local, national and international decision-makers is critical when responding to disaster risk. It can increase funding, see policies being led locally and enable policymakers to take a holistic approach to disaster risk reduction, conflict prevention, climate change adaptation and development.
Research shows that investing in disaster risk reduction prior to disasters saves lives, reduces losses, and is far more cost-effective than funding response after disasters.
At Tearfund, our work in advocacy also includes advocating for the role of faith leaders in disaster preparedness and response to be recognised.
Explore our resources on advocacy and disasters
Disasters and conflict
Humanitarian responses often take place against a backdrop of conflict. In many cases, the conflict itself is the source of the humanitarian crisis. The impacts of other disasters, such as natural disasters, can also create conflict as affected populations compete to gain access to the resources they need to recover. In combination, conflict and natural disasters can increase the needs created by each other.
Our approach to disasters in settings where there is conflict is to:
- respond to the emergency needs created by the disaster
- support affected populations to recover from the impact of the disaster, and increase their resilience to future disasters, conflict or crises
- address the root causes of conflict through peacebuilding, breaking cycles of trauma and violence, and equipping local people in conflict resolution
- address harmful structures of governance that increase tensions and drive conflict
When responding in any way to crises or disasters in any conflict context, it is important that a project must ‘Do No Harm’. Conflict sensitivity involves understanding the conflict context we are working in, ensuring we minimise negative impacts on the conflict, and identifying opportunities to maximise positive impact.
Find our tools and guides on conflict
Read more about our work and commitment to promoting peace and reconciliation
The importance of learning
Learning, reflecting and adapting is a crucial part of our response and recovery process. We are committed to improving the design and implementation of all disaster response projects, as well as providing opportunities and resources for individuals to develop the skills and knowledge they need to serve others effectively.
Across the world, Tearfund and its partners work in very different contexts. In our experience, while every disaster is different, it is still important to bring in the lessons we learnt from past responses.
We know that to respond effectively in an emergency situation requires people with skills, knowledge, and the right heart and attitude to put people first. With our partners, we are committed to improving their performance both through training and developing skills, as well as reviewing projects to ensure that lessons can be learnt or innovation identified.