Disaster risk reduction

People living in developing countries are more likely to be affected by natural disasters than developed countries. Caritas Australia strives to respond to communities affected by disasters and deliver assistance to them for both the short and long-term.

Natural disaster scene

The facts

The poor are the most physically, economically, socially and environmentally vulnerable to disasters. Disasters can destroy lives, national economies and development programs alike, setting back years of progress.

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is an attempt to prepare, mitigate and adapt to the impact of disasters, hopefully decreasing the socio-economic impacts faced by millions of people worldwide every year.

Our Caritas approach

Caritas Australia and our partners are helping communities before, during and after the headlines. We believe it is important to not only react quickly and provide assistance in the event of an emergency, but to also take steps to identify, assess and reduce the risks the poor face from future disasters.

DRR activities:

Mitigation - activities to prevent natural hazards from developing into a disaster

Preparedness - reducing the damage through practical training and preparation

Response - emergency response activties when a disaster takes place

Recovery - supporting communities to return back to their lives after a disaster

Our DRR activities aim to decrease the risk to communities, their livelihoods, lives and property, and are
conducted at local, countrywide and regional levels. These include community, non-governmental organisational and countrywide drills for preparedness and adaption practices to prepare and reduce vulnerability.

Caritas Australia’s response

  • 200 people were trained in “Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction” concepts in Malawi.
  • Disaster Risk Reduction training was conducted for Caritas Australia’s partners in the Philippines.
  • Caritas Australia and Caritas Internationalis met jointly to discuss our ongoing response to Cyclone Nargus in Burma, including the remaining challenges, lessons learnt and recommendations for improved response and future collaboration.
Martina with her students

Real life: preparing for disasters in the Solomons

In the Solomon Islands, natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and tsunamis are ever-present threats. Partnering with the Diocese of Auki and the Archdiocese of Honiara, we have been working with communities to develop disaster risk reduction strategies, especially for young people.

As part of this program, teachers have been using nursery rhymes, role-playing and games to develop children's understanding of emergencies and what they need to do when emergencies strike.

"Nursery rhymes break down the fear associated with natural disasters, and also help children memorise the rhymes and the emergency response," explains Martina, a teacher in the Solomon Islands. Read more »