Disaster Risk Reduction

It is beyond our power to avert or reduce most natural hazards - an extreme event that occurs naturally and can cause harm to humans and the environment - 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 Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) recognises that we can reduce the impact of disasters 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).

DRR 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.

The Disaster Cycle

Exploring what happens when people experience shocks and stresses can help us understand resilience. Everyday, people and communities are adapting to the shocks and stresses of life without falling into crisis. But what happens when they do? The Disaster Cycle shows how people react and adapt when crisis comes - their behaviours fall into one of three categories - Stress management, Crisis management and Risk management.

The Disaster Cycle (PDF 582 KB)
This document explains above diagram in more detail

resources and tools on DRR

Roots Reducing the risk of disasters front cover NEWROOTS 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.
Also available in French (PDF 1.2 MB), Spanish (PDF 676 KB), Portuguese (PDF 682 KB), Arabic (PDF 1.8 MB), Bangla (PDF 10.9 MB), Chinese (Mandarin) (PDF 1.4 MB), Nepali (PDF 2 MB).

Pillars preparing for disasters front coverPILLARS – 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. 
Also available in French (PDF 2.3 MB), Spanish (PDF 2.3 MB), Portuguese (PDF 4.6 MB), Bangla (PDF 11 MB), Chinese (Mandarin) (PDF 1.7 MB) and Nepali (PDF 4.5 MB).

Characteristics of a disaster resilient community front coverThe Characteristics of a Disaster Resilient Community (PDF 2.4 MB)
A publication based on the community-based disaster risk reduction work of many NGOs (including Tearfund and its partners), describes 168 characteristics of a community that is resilient to natural hazards.
Also available in French (PDF 2.2 MB).

Characteristics of a Disaster Resilient Community 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.
Possible “Top 20” for fast-onset natural hazards (PDF 54 KB)
Possible “Top 20” for slow-onset natural hazards (PDF 54 KB) 

DEC Pakistan DRR report (June 2012) (PDF 1.9 MB)
This report studies the response to the 2010 floods in Pakistan, which affected over 20 million people. 

Soil Stabilised Blocks in Darfur (PDF 1.9 MB)
This case study looks at the introduction of Soil Stabilised Blocks to counteract rapid deforestation in Darfur. 

Evaluation of Community Resilience in Uganda (PDF 652 KB)
An example of how to use Tearfund’s approach to measuring resilience with Top 20 characteristics. 

Towards Resilience, Emergency Capacity Building Project
A guide to Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change adaptation.