Practical Action South Asia
Living at risk from disasters is common to many communities all over the world. For instance, those living on river banks, in coastal towns and on steep slopes live with the ever present danger of natural occurrences like floods, tsunamis, earth slips etc. Sadly, their abject poverty and fragile livelihoods leave them with little choice on where to live.
Although relief is essential in cases of sudden disasters, the over emphasis on relief provision in the aftermath of a disaster situation does not help to reduce these communities long term vulnerability, nor does it equip them to face a future disaster situation. Instead, it creates a culture of dependency among among risk prone communities, making them more vulnerable to future disaster situations.
It is clear then that vulnerability to disasters and poverty, are interlinked in a reciprocal and a reinforcing manner. Any effort to strengthen communities to be equipped to face disaster situations also require interventions that contribute to reducing poverty and strengthening livelihoods. To create an environment conducive to stable diversified livelihood options, it is essential for development planners to see disasters as an unresolved problem of development and, integrate disaster preparedness plans into the development process.
In this context, the work carries out by the reducing vulnerability theme aims at:
- Strengthening the capacities of people to sustain livelihoods and cope with disasters, while building on the social environment of the communities.
- Increasing awareness on development-disaster linkages so that the people and the organisations are effectively able to adapt and manage the disasters even in conflict situations.
The projects that contributes towards achieving these objectives include:
- Mainstreaming livelihood-centered approach for disaster management
- Natural resource management
- Strengthening resilience in tsunami affected communities
- Alternative livelihoods for conflict-affected communities - Livelihoods Enterprise Development Services (LEDS) North East Coastal Community Development Project
A common concern of local development planners is the lack of tools and methodologies to identify and analyze disaster risks in localities and incorporate them in to the development plans. Practical Action has introduced the Disaster Risk Sensitive Land Use Planning methodology in Wanduruppa, as a successful tool to identify, analyze and incorporate the disaster risks in development process. The methodology has unexpectedly captured the attention of many development planners locally and nationally as the appropriate measure in reducing disaster risk in most of the disaster prone areas. Read more »