During the past four decades, disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, landslides, tropical cyclones, floods, drought and other hazards have increased significantly and caused major loss of human lives and livelihoods. The escalation of these disasters is increasingly threatening both sustainable development and poverty-reduction initiatives. In recent years the international community has also acknowledged that disasters constrain sustainable development, exacerbate poverty and therefore endanger the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Disasters may occur suddenly in time or they may develop over a longer period of time. Efforts to establish better preparedness for and prevention of disasters have been a priority concern of donor agencies, implementing agencies and affected countries. Islamic Relief is committed to assist any vulnerable human being, when and where possible, in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from, natural and man-made disasters.
This manual brings together into a coherent framework the insights of disaster preparedness and risk reduction programmes for five major natural disasters in the community. Important learning and best practices from Islamic Relief’s and other agencies work on how communities can have their capacity built to mitigate the effects of disasters are also highlighted for different disasters. The manual demonstrates that effective disaster mitigation and preparedness, as well as the response to emergencies, must be rooted in communities. If communities are aware of the dangers and the likely effects of disasters, they can begin to prepare for them. The manual stresses that strengthening local capacity through appropriate disaster preparedness and mitigation activities as well as livelihoods is crucial to improving civic resilience to disasters. Equally important are strong partnerships between local community-based organizations, external non-governmental and governmental organizations, public and private sectors and between local and national government.
This manual is an essential guideline for Islamic Relief’s field offices across the world seeking to improve the quality, robustness and capacity of their disaster management programmes through appropriate preparedness and mitigation works.