Disaster risk reduction
We aim to reduce the risk of disasters for marginalised groups and communities
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.
Using technology to challenge poverty
Projects like this depend on your support. Please help us to work with communities around the world to save lives and improve livelihoods.
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.
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.
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
Insights from a flood vulnerable community in Sirajganj
As interest in resilience gathers momentum on the international stage, the need to address the question what do we understand by resilience becomes more important. To explore this question I recently visited flood victims in Sirajganj, Bangladesh.
Layli Begum from Char Saidabad trained as a volunteer on primary health care as part of...
The year has been marked by a number of unusual climate events. Not only was 2015 the hottest year on record, with 2016 appearing on track to exceed this, but the year has also been unusually wet. In the US state of Louisiana, 13 people died and large areas are still struggling to cope when a "no-name storm" dumped three times as much rain on Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina. Th...
“Sustainable…Participatory…Resilience”…I have to admit that I hate buzzwords - they get thrown about so much that they can often lose their real meaning and ability to do any good. That is why to me the work of the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance is so important. The Alliance works not only to increase the resilience of communities to floods but also to determine once and for all what...
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.
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.
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 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'.
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.