2013 Report: A New Focus on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
In 2013, we expanded our activities to include Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). DRR refers to work that reduces the risk and impacts of disasters before they occur.
At first glance, this may seem like an odd concept – after all, you can’t stop a typhoon or an earthquake. However a disaster is not a natural event (called a ‘hazard’) acting in isolation. A disaster occurs when a hazard meets pre-existing conditions – called vulnerabilities - in the communities it strikes. Put simply:
Disaster = Hazard + Vulnerability
We can’t prevent natural events like earthquakes from happening, so we can’t affect the ‘Hazard’ part of the equation. We can, however, reduce vulnerability before a hazard strikes.
Vulnerability is complicated and tied to many factors, but poverty and development are often very important. By tackling these underlying issues at their root, such as by improving access to education, we can reduce vulnerability and, in turn, reduce the risk of future disasters.
This long-term focus on reducing vulnerability has always been at the heart of our response work. In fact, we’re still supporting Haitian led programmes that reduce vulnerability in Port au Prince almost four years after the 2010 earthquake. So, while DRR is a new area for us, it’s also a natural extension of the work we’ve been doing for years.