Photo: Jim Loring/Tearfund
Photo: Jim Loring/Tearfund

LEARNING FROM DISASTERS

The world is full of bad news. Sometimes it can seem as if there are more and more disasters around the world. Unfortunately that really is the case as Marcus Oxley points out in our opening article. Disasters can damage communities. However challenges can also bring out the best in people. Preparing to cope with a possible hazard means that a community will have to organise itself. This can bring many benefits in day-to-day life – even if an unexpected hazard never arrives. This issue focuses on how we can learn from the experience of others and gives ideas on how we can help organise our community to be prepared for the unexpected.

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 56 in html.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 56 click here (715K).


  • Bible study: Learning from the beginning

    Learning from the beginning: Genesis Read Genesis 1:31, 2:15 Disasters and suffering were never part of God’s original plan for us. He created all things and formed a partnership with us. However, this partnership was broken (Genesis 3) and we suffer the consequences.

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  • Flood-related disasters in South Asia

    The deltas of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers in South Asia flood on a seasonal basis. The flooding keeps the soil fertile because the rivers deposit silt which forms fertile soil each year. Partly because of the flooding, it is one of the most densely populated areas of the world with millions of people in Nepal, Northern India and Bangladesh depending on the rivers and fertile soils for their livelihoods. 

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  • Hope from despair: A case study from IPASC

    For several years there has been ethnic conflict in the northeast region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly between the Lendu and Hema communities. During 2002 the region went through many hardships due to ethnic tensions. Many people lost their lives and fled the area, leaving all their belongings and homes. IPASC (Institut Panafricain de Santé Communautaire) is a Tearfund partner based at Nyankunde, Ituri province. It provides health and development training

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  • Landslide in Myagdi

    by Alastair Seaman. International Nepal Fellowship (INF) has run a community health and development programme in Myagdi District, Nepal for over ten years. For the last six years the programme has encouraged marginalised people to meet together to plan ways of improving their lives. There are now about 40 such groups carrying out action plans to meet their own objectives. The programme offers these groups technical assistance in the areas of health, horticulture, literacy and drinking water ...

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  • Letters

    Ideas for action  We collect all the Footsteps issues for our Library and use them in our ministry. We use many ideas from Footsteps in our training, seminars and workshops. As a result of our training:

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  • Project Pani: responding to drought

    by Roshan Mendis. Sri Lanka is an island with rich and varied vegetation. In the past, most major disasters have been linked to excessive rainfall. In 1999, however, the monsoon failed. People in the south of the island waited hopefully for the next monsoon. But then the next two monsoons also failed to arrive. This meant there had been no rain for 21 months. Wells and rivers became dry.

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  • Promoting public health among displaced people

    by Mwakamubaya Nasekwa. Tearfund has several partners based in Nyankunde, Democratic Republic of Congo. Staff were forced to leave Nyankunde when tensions between the Hema and Lendu communities led to a massacre of around 1,000 people at Nyankunde.

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  • Resources

    On Solid Ground: Strengthening community in times of crisis This is a series of six educational videos designed for everyone interested in improving relief and development practice. The videos are available in both English and Spanish as part of a learning pack, which includes a 64-page facilitator’s guide and CD-ROM. The videos are recommended for use in small groups with an experienced facilitator.

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  • Risk mapping

    Local people already know more than any outsider about their community and the people living there. Many people assume they know everything about their local area, but there is always more to examine and learn. Producing a detailed map of the community can help people to identify areas, buildings or people that would be at high risk should there be any kind of disaster.

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  • Tree surveys

    This activity can be used with children to help them learn about their surroundings. They will also learn about the use of surveys, ranking and charts to collect and display information. Farmer groups could find these techniques useful in surveying local trees or when selecting popular species to grow in tree nurseries. The activities could be adapted to study crops, foods, livestock or type of work.

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