Disaster prevention includes work to strengthen the ability of people to protect themselves against natural disasters. It may be as simple as teaching farmers to grow varied crops, which are more resilient to draught or flooding.
Photo: Simon Maina
Interventions before and after a disaster
The main part of Sida’s humanitarian aid is used for contributions in disaster situations. But preventing disasters and working with a long-term perspective early in a crisis is also important. This is why parts of the humanitarian aid are devoted to disaster prevention and recovery.
Humanitarian aid is not limited to emergency relief in humanitarian crises. Through preventive actions it is possible to strengthen the ability of vulnerable persons and societies to protect themselves against natural disasters. This makes it possible to alleviate the effects of a disaster when it occurs. After the acute phase of a disaster, there is almost always a great need of long-term reconstruction and recovery. This is why we work to strengthen the synergies between humanitarian aid and long-term development cooperation.
Disaster prevention is above all focused on strengthening the ability of vulnerable people to protect themselves against natural disasters. This is necessary in order to meet the double challenge of poverty and climate change. We implement this work for example by strengthening the capacity of local authorities and organisations in the affected countries. The aim is to improve the local response to humanitarian needs and to make sure there is a long-term perspective in the work carried out.
Sida supports a project that improves Ethiopia’s system for storing water. The project reduces the risk of flooding disasters and secures irrigation for farming during the whole year. In that way, the risk of famine and acute malnutrition is also reduced.
Humanitarian aid includes contributions that create conditions for reconstruction and long-term development after the crisis. These contributions complement ordinary development cooperation, and co-ordination between the contributions is vital.
All humanitarian contributions should be carried out in cooperation with local authorities and organizations, as far as possible. Local authorities and organizations often have a greater knowledge of local conditions and people. This is particularly important in the long-term perspective, since local anchoring will keep competence in the area when the international aid organisations terminate their missions.
Internally displaced persons in Colombia receive humanitarian aid such as food, shelter and water. At the same time, people who have been displaced for over a decade are to improve their livelihoods.
Example: Promote local markets
Even though it may be cheaper to import blankets, food and other equipment in a disaster situation, the assistance gets added value if the humanitarian donor buy local products. It strengthens the local market, which may increase job opportunities and income in the affected area.