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Last year we helped reduce the risk of disasters for over 60,000 people

Almost three billion people were affected by natural disasters between 2000 and 2012.* The majority of those affected live in the poorest countries, with some groups - such as women, people with disabilities, and the elderly - particularly vulnerable.

We believe that technology has a role to play in alleviating people's risk to natural disasters. Practical Action is well place to connect humanitarian disaster risk management with the need to build disaster preparedness and avoidance into development.

As well as demonstrating the material impact of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) projects on the ground, we also address critical policy issues that can have large-scale impact.

NEW Resilience in Practice
A new series of briefing papers shares our experience and examples of best practice in resilience-building work around the world. Read more »

Using technology to challenge poverty

Preparing for floods

Appropriate training and technologies are introduced in order for families to dramatically lessen the impact of the inevitable flooding

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Flood resistant housing

Simple design changes improve houses enough to be unaffected by flooding and resulting dangers to livelihoods

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River erosion

Displacement from river erosion can be devastating, but building back better gives people a stronger chance against future adversity

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Earthquake resistant buildings

Traditional ‘quincha’ building technology results in a flexible structure with an inherent earthquake resistance.

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Coping with drought

Simple technologies, such as rainwater harvesting and water conservation, can reduce the devastating impact of droughts

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Surviving freak freezes

Simple yet effective ideas to improve the livelihoods of communities struggling to cope with extreme weather conditions

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Projects like this depend on your support. Please help us to work with communities around the world to save lives and improve livelihoods.

Our experience

We help identify and implement practical, sustainable technologies that people can use to reduce the impact of disasters. We research, develop and adapt technologies, making sure that success in one country can form a template for success in another. Consequently, our projects make an impact far beyond the communities that initially benefit.

Our experience in disaster risk reduction

Reconstruction

Practical Action encourages humanitarian agencies to embrace the goal of building back better.

This means much more than just leaving people with stronger physical structures. It means helping families, communities, social networks and local markets emerge from crises more capable to cope and adapt to future threats.

Read more about recovery and reconstruction

Technical information

Our technical information service offers free downloads on a range of topics related to disaster mitigation, response and reconstruction.

We also have a technical enquiry service where anyone working in poverty reduction, or on small-scale technology projects, can ask a question and receive a response from our local experts free of charge.

News and blogs - disaster risk reduction

Building resilience needs learning from the past and looking to the future

Let me start by writing about the recent disaster in Nepal in Bhote Koshi River that originates from Tibet (China). A sudden flood on 5 July 2016 damaged roads and houses along the river. The pictures from the field show that multi-storey houses were build at the foot of the fragile hills which were prone to flood at anytime. [caption align="alignright" width="453"] Hira Devi Gurungstands in...
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Women in Engineering Beat the Flood!

8  schools, 90 girls, 15 volunteers from industry; loads of junk modelling material, water and a Practical Action STEM challenge …the perfect combination for a National Women in Engineering and the Build Environment Day event at Birmingham City University. #NWED2016 The girls had an engineering challenge...to build a model house strong enough to ‘Beat the Flood’. With support from women work...
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Can you trust technology to provide protection from flooding?

Practical Action has been working with a number of different partners in the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance[1] to explore the factors that build the resilience of communities in developing countries to the threat of floods. One of the features of flood prone communities is the fact that these communities are often fully aware of the risk, but some economic or social benefit leads to them disc...
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Nepal earthquake

On 25 April 2015 a massive earthquake hit Nepal. Many people we work with in three of our projects in Gorkha, Pokhara and Kathmandu were seriously affected. Our staff delivered emergency help with sanitation, hygiene, drinking water, energy and shelter, and we are now planning reconstruction.

We are helping people rebuild their houses with earthquake resilient technologies, and we will continue to support communities to be resilient in the future, with infrastructure work for drinking water, sanitation and energy, and disaster-preparedness.

Read more about our plans for long-term reconstruction in Nepal

How the earthquake affected communities | Please help our work in Nepal   Donate

Consulting

Practical Action Consulting (PAC) is the consulting arm of Practical Action, applying lessons learned from grassroots experience to technology solutions in poor communities around the world.

PAC supports governments, community groups and NGOs to establish community based early warning systems and disaster risk management planning and preparation.

Drawing on our experience in market mapping, we provide and support our internationally recognised Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA) training to secure and improve livelihoods in the event of disaster.

Practical Action Consulting's work on disaster risk reduction

Climate change

Climate change affects everyone, but its effects are felt most by the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities, who live in regions that are susceptible to changes in the climate and whose livelihoods are dependent on natural resources – for example drought-prone sub-Saharan Africa, or in marginal areas such as floodplains or unstable hillsides.

Because of this, we embed climate change as a cross-cutting theme across our four universal goals. Our work, in energy access, agriculture, disaster risk reduction and water and waste, is equipping vulnerable people to adapt to a changing climate and cope with severe weather events.

Practical Action's work on climate change adaptation

Policy

Practical Action works with others towards the attainment of the internationally agreed goals of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), 'Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters'.

Disaster risk reduction policy

Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance

Practical Action is proud to be a member of the 'Global Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance', which aims to save the lives and livelihoods of the most poor by preventing floods from becoming disasters.

By working with diverse organisations and experts we will magnify our reach and effectiveness and become global leaders in enhancing community resilience to floods both in terms of technical knowledge and practice.

Global Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance

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