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Last year we helped reduce the risk of disasters for 344,000 people

The number of people at risk of natural hazards has tripled over the past decade and recovery costs quadrupled. Most of the people affected live in the poorest countries - and women, people with disabilities, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

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

Women as a force to build resilience

Many risk drivers are created by development choices at global or national levels, but all are manifested at the local level, so local people must be central to risk reduction practice. But it is important to recognise that in these communities it is the disabled, elderly, women and girls who are the most at risk. For example, women accounted for 61% of fatalities caused by Cyclone Nargis in My...
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Bio-dykes: saving communities and instilling confidence in them

As we approached Bangalipur, a closed-knit community of 135 households, dark clouds started covering the sky and a light sprinkle followed after. Enchanted by the fresh, earthy smell wafting from the gravelled road and ducks swimming in the brownish water in the canal running by the road, we thought of delving further into the rural life. The surrounding was verdant with freshly transplanted...
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Enhancing Flood Resilience through Livelihood adaptation

“The 2014 flood was worse than the 2009 flood but the loss and damage was less because people had learned from the earlier event.” Dinanath Bhandari I am currently visiting the Practical Action Nepal flood resilience project in the western region, which has been supported by the Z Zurich foundation for the last five years. The project is working in 74 flood vulnerable communities adja...
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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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