Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

It is beyond our power to avert or reduce most natural hazards – but a natural hazard alone does not automatically lead to a disaster. A degree of vulnerability must exist for a hazard to have an impact on people, and DRR recognises that we can reduce disasters tremendously by reducing that vulnerability. For example, making buildings quake-resistant can prevent a hazard (an earthquake) from becoming a disaster (homes destroyed and people killed).

Disaster Risk Reduction is a key aspect of building resilience, and should be closely integrated with work to mitigate climate change, environmental degradation and conflict, as these are often key drivers of disaster vulnerability. 

DRR is best implemented when working alongside others such as governments, local NGOs, businesses and faith communities. For example, following Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) Tearfund worked hard with other key stakeholders to develop a coherent DRR plan for the city of Cadiz (see learning case study [PDF 155 KB] and infographic [PDF 424 KB]).

Tearfund has developed the following resources for community-based DRR:

ROOTS 9 – Reducing the risk of disaster In our communities (PDF 896 KB). Tearfund's Participatory Assessment of Disaster Risk (PADR) process helps communities to assess the factors that contribute to the size and scale of any potential disaster and to develop locally owned plans to address those risks. It is a community-empowering process, helping people to understand cause-effect relationships and to realise their own capacities to reduce their vulnerability to hazards.

Download: English (PDF 896 KB), Français (PDF 682 KB)

PILLARS – Preparing for disasters (PDF 2.3 MB). A practical, discussion-based learning resource for small community groups. Encourages communities to consider possible risk situations and helps them prepare to respond effectively. Includes information on first aid, emergency stores and community shelters.

Characteristics of a Disaster-Resilient Community (PDF 2.4 MB). This publication lists the characteristics of the ideal disaster-resilient community (as well as the political, social and institutional 'enabling environment' that will allow those characteristics to be effective). Tearfund and five other British NGOs commissioned this resource from DRR academic John Twigg, based on the six agencies' practical experience of community-level Disaster Risk Reduction.

Characteristics can be used as a strategic planning resource and as the basis for a system of measuring and monitoring disaster resilience. Tearfund recommends a 'Top 20' approach, prioritising a manageable number of characteristics that are most relevant to the disasters in a given area (whether fast-onset PDF 53 KB or slow-onset PDF 54 KB).  Download: English (PDF 2.4 MB), Français (PDF 2.2 MB)