IFRC

World Disasters Report 2004 - From risk to resilience – helping communities cope with crisis

"The World Disasters Report provides humanitarian decision-makers with a unique combination of compelling analysis and original insights from the field. Its intellectual power has enriched UN debates "Jan Egeland, United Nations' Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator".

In the hours after sudden disaster strikes, most lives are saved by the courage and resourcefulness of friends and neighbours. During slow-onset crises such as drought, some rural societies have developed extraordinary capacities to cope and bounce back. How can aid organisations strengthen rather than undermine this local resilience?

Perceptions of disaster differ between those at risk and those trying to help. Evidence suggests that everyday threats to livelihoods are a greater concern to most poor communities than 'one-off' disasters. Meanwhile, local consensus and cooperation are as important in protecting communities as concrete walls. The report argues that a more developmental approach to creating disaster resilience is needed, which puts communities in charge of defining their needs and crafting the right solutions.

The report by chapters


Chapter 1 - Data or dialogue? The role of information in disasters
International media tend to portray disaster-affected communities as helpless - saved only by outside aid. Yet beyond the headlines, survivors from Bam to New York have saved people with their bare hands, salvaged what was left and counselled each other. When all seems lost, the capacity of people to pull together and not give up is amazing and humbling.

Chapter 2 - Heatwaves: the developed world's hidden disaster
International media tend to portray disaster-affected communities as helpless - saved only by outside aid. Yet beyond the headlines, survivors from Bam to New York have saved people with their bare hands, salvaged what was left and counselled each other. When all seems lost, the capacity of people to pull together and not give up is amazing and humbling.


Chapter 3 - Harnessing local capacities in rural India
Between 1994 and 2003, disasters - both 'natural' and technological - claimed 68,671 Indian lives, affected an average of 68 million people every year, and cost US$1.9 billion annually in direct economic damage. This toll is worse than for the previous decade, so the task of supporting the resilience of Indian communities to disasters has never been more urgent.

Chapter 4 - Bam sends warning to reduce future earthquake risks
It took just 12 seconds, at dawn on 26 December 2003, to annihilate a city. Of the 120,000 inhabitants of Bam, between 30,000 and 40,000 were killed. Another 30,000 were injured. Practically all the survivors were left homeless, as 85 percent of the city's buildings collapsed. Economic damage totalled US$ 1.5 billion. How did the survivors of Bam cope and what lessons can be drawn?


Chapter 5 - Building community resilience to disaster in the Philippines
Landslides across southern Philippines in December 2003 killed 200 people and left thousands homeless, reigniting the disaster prevention debate. From 1971 to 2000, 'natural' disasters killed 34,000 Filipinos. From 1990 to 2000, 35 million people were severely affected by natural disasters. Can community-based disaster preparedness (CBDP) help strengthen the resilience of Filipinos to natural hazards? What are CBDP's pitfalls and advantages?


Chapter 6 - AIDS: Communities pulling out of downward spiral
Across southern Africa, HIV/AIDS is combining with food insecurity, poverty, worsening health care, dirty water and sanitation, uncontrolled urbanization and common disease to create an unprecedented disaster that conventional intervention can no longer contain.

Chapter 7 - Surviving in the slums While the growth of mega-cities and mega-risks like earthquakes capture headlines, far more lives in urban areas are lost to everyday disasters caused by dirty drinking water and sanitation. If organizations want to enhance the resilience of slum dwellers, they must understand how risk and coping in the city have become urbanized.

Chapter 8 - Disaster data: key trends and statistics
Over the past decade, the number of 'natural' and technological disasters has risen. From 1994 to 1998, reported disasters averaged 428 per year - from 1999 to 2003, this figure shot up by two-thirds to an average 707 disasters each year. The biggest rise was in countries of low human development, which suffered an increase of 142 per cent.



Press release

Disaster survivors prove more resilient than aid agencies expect

Pour limiter l’impact des catastrophes, il est essentiel de consolider la résistance communautaire.


La Fédération internationale des Sociétés de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge constitue, avec ses 190 Sociétés nationales membres, le plus vaste réseau humanitaire du monde. En tant que membres du Mouvement international de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge, nous sommes guidés dans notre travail par sept Principes fondamentaux: humanité, impartialité, neutralité, indépendance, volontariat, unité et universalité.