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Disaster risk reduction

Hundreds of millions of people live with the risk of natural disasters — most especially in African and South East Asian  countries.

The scale of these disasters is highly dependent on the country’s susceptibility, meaning its proximity to volcanoes, weather or climate-related phenomena and geophysical conditions in the region, but also on its vulnerability especially in terms of infrastructure, business environment or the quality of its health system, and on its coping capacities. Among the poor, these capacities are compounded by a lack of social and financial stability, making them more vulnerable than others to the consequences of a natural disaster.

Together with local partner organizations, action medeor implements disaster risk reduction measures to improve the coping capacities and reduce the vulnerability of these people with the aim to lessen the loss and damage of future events. Locals are given support in setting up their own prevention and protection systems by putting village structures in place and providing training and education. To compensate for their lack of social security, the people learn to identify their own vulnerabilities, susceptibility and capacities, and take appropriate measures.
These measures are either preventive or preparatory in nature. Whereas preventive measures are planned taking a long-term approach and are implemented, for instance, in the context of reconstruction and recovery activities after a disaster, preparatory work is designed primarily to provide prompt, life-saving options when faced with a natural disaster.

Preventive measures include education and training events, the construction of flood-proof accommodation, sanitary and health facilities or the provision of secure storage areas to protect resources (e.g. seeds). Preparatory measures, in contrast, involve aspects such as teaching schools and village communities to apply appropriate behavior in the event of a disaster, the organization of evacuation drills or stockpiling emergency supplies for a disaster.

In addition, action medeor applies itself increasingly to improving the coping skills of the people. When a disaster strikes, the local population always act asfirst responders in their communities. Their skills therefore are highly important in aiding immediate rescue efforts. Especially where places become difficult to reach people often have to fend for themselves for several days before help arrives. Increasingly, therefore, communities are offered trainings in first aid and rescue operations in order to enable immediate and lifesaving response.
Disaster reduction enables people to take action early enough to help protect lives, minimize damage, be better prepared and to cope if the worst happens, and so builds stronger and more resilient communities.