Disaster Risk Reduction
Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is the concept and practice of reducing risks through systematic efforts to analyze and manage the causal factors of disasters, including through reduced exposure to hazards, reduced vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improved preparedness for adverse events.
There is no such thing as a 'natural' disaster, only natural hazards. Disaster risk reduction aims to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones, through an ethic of prevention
Disasters often follow natural hazards. A disaster's severity depends on how much impact a hazard has on society and the environment. The scale of the impact in turn depends on the choices we make for our lives and for our environment. These choices relate to how we grow our food, where and how we build our homes and schools, what kind of government we have, how our financial system works, and what we teach in schools. Each decision and action makes us more vulnerable to disasters - or more resilient to them.
Students need access to education. However access to any classroom is not enough. Schools must withstand potential hazards and be safe for all. In disasters, students, staff, and families experience intense mental and physical trauma. Unsafe schools can injure and even kill people. Years of learning can be lost as communities focus on recovery, not education. And without school to attend each day, students can be vulnerable to abuse, neglect, violence, and exploitation. Recent disasters highlight how vulnerable schools are. In each case, the emotional loss felt by the surviving community is impossible to measure.
Elements of disaster risk reduction should be incorporated into formal curricula and in co-curricular activities from the primary to secondary levels of education. Targeting higher education can be a practical means to build disaster reduction capacities. Incorporating hazard and disaster risk-related issues into existing education curricula contributes to continuous learning and reinforces disaster risk reduction knowledge.
This collection was developed with the support of Marla Petal, Principal Advisor for Urban Resilience & School Safety at Save the Children, and Kate McFarlane, Advisor for Child-Centred Risk Reduction, School Safety and Knowledge Management at Save the Children.