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Last year we helped reduce the risk of disasters for 314,000 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


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

Climate change is fuelling extreme weather events

On International Day for Disaster Reduction, Hurricane Matthew is a timely reminder of the consequences of inaction on climate change. Changing climates exacerbated by years of ineffective development generates risk for everyone, especially the poorest and most vulnerable those least responsible for the climate change problem. We have all seen the news of the devastation that Hurric...
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Bag gardening makes a big change to food security of flood vulnerable families

Nasima Khatun lives in a village, very near the mighty Jamuna river of Sirajganj. River water comes to destroy their kitchen garden almost every year during the months of July, August and September, the harvesting season for summer vegetables. During the post flood period vegetable scarcity in homes and local markets becomes acute. Most poor families just eat boiled rice with salt during the fl...
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Making up time on Loss and Damage

This week the world passed a benchmark when the 56th country submitted documents of ratification for the global climate change agreement that was signed in Paris in December 2015[1]. This was a significant step and raises the likelihood that the Paris agreement will be ratified in advance of the next global climate gathering in Marrakesh, Morocco in November 2016. One of the s...
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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


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


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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