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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.* Most of these live in the poorest countries - and women, people with disabilities, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

Technology has a role to play in reducing people's risk to natural disasters. Practical Action is well placed 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

Coping disasters beyond the border : Nepal-India cross-border flood early warning system

By Dinanath Bhandari, Buddhi Kumal, Lok Narayan Pokhrel and Kamal Tripathi Saving lives from flood disasters beyond the border is possible through early warning systems. It is demonstrated successfully in three river basins between India and Nepal. Bilateral cooperation at government level could make greater changes. While many governments are sharing information on cyclones and ...
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The magic trick and resilience: can it work?

If you are a citizen of any country exposed to natural disasters, you may know that flooding, cyclones or hurricanes are some of the words that first come to mind when anyone talks about natural disasters. When we talk about disasters, either natural or man-made we all think of one thing – how we can survive? We are putting all our effort into finding that magic trick which we believe th...
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Nepal Floods 2017 : lessons in preparedness

After a disaster, people talk about build back better. The flood disaster in the second week of August in Nepal told us to do better preparedness and ‘bring back better’. Disasters test our response capacity. The floods have revealed our strength and weaknesses. It was an exam for decade long interventions by numerous agencies on flood preparedness - District Disaster Preparedness Plans, pre...
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Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

Practical Action is taking part in the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancún between the 22 and 26 May 2017. Alongside our partners from the Zurich flood resilience program, we are sharing our work on building the resilience to floods of the poorest and most vulnerable communities.

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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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