World disasters report 2001

World disasters report 2001

Humanitarian advocacy: a solution disaster prevention and recovery

This year's World Disasters Report looks at the subject of, and the difficulties involved in, recovery from disasters. The overall picture, particularly for those in the most disaster-prone countries, is far from encouraging. Chapters in this look at the way in which recurrent disasters from floods in Asia to drought in the Horn of Africa to wind storms in Latin America are sweeping away development gains and calling into question the possibility of recovery. Gaps between life-saving relief and longer-term development can leave disaster-affected people stranded. Technical solutions that do not adequately take account of community's needs may mean that reconstruction does not lead to recovery.

Chapters include :

  • Relief, recovery and root causes
  • The ecology of disaster recovery
  • Somalia: programming for sustainable health care
  • Trapped in the gap - post-landslide Venezuela
  • Post-flood recovery in Viet Nam
  • Food crisis in Tajikistan: an unnatural disaster?
  • Disaster data: key trends and statistics

Conclusion: action at the local level alone will not bring genuine recovery from disasters. Root causes need identifying and tackling. In many cases, nature's contribution to "natural" disasters is simply to expose the effects of deeper, structural causes - from global warming and unplanned urbanisation to trade liberalisation and political marginalisation. The effects of man's action are often evident - many natural catastrophes are un/natural in their origins.

Recommendation: macro-factors driving disasters are beyond the scope of aid. But not beyond the remit of humanitarian advocacy, which can champion solutions to these root causes with both national and international institutions. The ever-increasing risk posed by disasters will only be contained by putting the planet's vulnerable people at the centre of disaster response and of humanitarian advocacy.

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