Scarcely a week goes by without us hearing of some kind of disaster on the news – earthquakes, coups, flooding, drought, civil war, dreadful accidents. None of us knows what the future may hold or where disaster may strike next. In this issue we look at a variety of thoughts and ideas which may help all of us to be better prepared to cope in difficult situations. The section which checks our knowledge of first aid is one we all need to read. How useful are we in emergencies? All of us face stress or temptations at some time, and the articles by Mike Wall and others give very practical advice on coping.  Ian Davis explains how disaster and the following relief and rebuilding work can be seen as a cycle. He urges churches to help communities to be better prepared should disaster strike.   

Following the helpful article in Issue 15 on whether community health programmes are simply community located or community controlled, Ben Osuga contributes to this discussion with an article on how to develop real community participation. Although he is discussing health programmes, his arguments apply to any kind of community work – agriculture, forestry, water etc. 

Isabel Carter