STEP 12. DISASTER RISK REDUCTION PLANNING
12.1 integrative action planning for DRR
The previous assessment of disaster risk paves the way for the planning of actions for reducing that risk through preventing the hazards, reducing the vulnerabilities or enhancing the capacities – or most often a combination of all strategies (see also Step 4). Although important, preventing hazards is often costly (in money, labor and time) and never ensures total safety as a dike may breach or be overtopped. Mitigating vulnerabilities is of crucial importance to address the root causes of disasters. However vulnerabilities are frequently, not exclusively, anchored in structural issues (unequal distribution of wealth within the society, ethnic or gender discrimination, unfair access to resources, etc.) which are beyond the reach of the locals. In that context it is often, not always, a utopia to promise participants that the training will address these issues although it may lead to advocacy actions to emphasize local needs. As a consequence, it is usually easier and more realistic to give a prime, not sole, focus on enhancing capacities. Capacities are indeed most often intrinsic to the local community as they refer to local knowledge, social networks, traditional medicine, etc.
As mentioned in the previous sections, P3DM facilitates dialogue between members of the local communities and scientists, local government officials, and NGOs (Figure 53). It serves as a common and credible tool that allows all stakeholders to collaborate. P3DM enables them to plan internally what can and should be done at the community level. The same tool enables NGOs and local government officials to plan and plot, in collaboration with the community, top-down actions intended to meet local needs. Both a mutually acceptable tool and collaboration are essential to integrate bottom-up and top-down disaster risk reduction measures. These measures and actions appear more legitimate to stakeholders since they are ones who conceptualized and endorsed them using a common tool that is acceptable to everyone.
It is therefore recommended that the action planning stage of P3DM for DRR involves the largest possible array of stakeholders, including the participants who built the map but also staffs from the NGO, representatives from the local government, school communities, faith groups, scientists and the business sector.
12.2 Planning actions for DRR based on a 3D map
P3DM provides a powerful tool for planning a combination of actions for DRR. Based on the table drawn at the previous stage and on the 3D map it is possible to identify the major issues which lead a particular area to be at high risk in facing natural or other hazards, and plan remedial measures according to available local resources (Figure 54). Such action planning necessitates not only the 3D map but also tools and methods which are not specific to P3DM. It is therefore highly recommended that facilitator refer to handbooks and manuals such as those authored by von Kotze and Holloway (1996) and Abarquez and Murshed (2004) amongst many others.
In line with the previous activities which aimed at making disaster risk tangible to the locals it is suggested to continue to resort upon tables which draw upon the data and outcomes of the disaster risk assessment. Table 13 proposes a template which needs to be adjusted to the local context. Such tables should list areas identified during the disaster risk assessment from those at highest risk to those at lowest risk. For each area, it is suggested to:
- Remind the issues and problems faced by the local community based on the hazards, vulnerabilities and capacities identified in the disaster risk assessment table;
- Remind the reasons / root causes of these issues and problems;
- Identify the needs to address / overcome such issues in the context of the prevailing causes;
- Enumerate specific actions to be conducted to meet these needs given available resources and capacities as listed in the disaster risk assessment table. Draw upon the 3D map to assess the relevanceand pertinence of these actions and plot them if possible;
- Define a target date for the implementation of the aforementioned actions. Specify the hour, date and month if possible.
- Identify the specific persons / organizations who / which will be responsible in implementing and monitoring the activities. Locate them on the map to see whether they are the best located people / organizations.
It is often appropriate to conduct this activity through gathering the participants from each area so that different groups look at the places they know best and for which they are most concerned (Figure 55). It is however essential to eventually collate all actions into a community-based action plans to avoid redundancy and pool resources together. When collating all information and local suggested actions it is also instrumental to discuss with outside stakeholders such as NGOs, local government officials and representatives from faith groups and school communities.
The 3D map provides a tangible and solid basis for the planning process. It is therefore best to conduct the action planning around or near the 3D map. Normally, both the facilitator and the participants have to look back and forth at the 3D map while conducting the action planning. For example, planning for evacuation in facing a pending hazardous event requires identifying the safest and fastest routes as well as locating hazard-free evacuation spots / centers. The vertical dimension is most useful as it provides a tangible basis for identify such routes and evacuation spots / centers (Figure 56).
12.3 Prioritising actions and time shortage
The 3D map usually enables the identification of many issues which underpin disaster risk within the community. It is often impossible during a single, short training to address all issues and plan actions in facing all hazards. It is therefore essential to focus in priority on the areas which have been considered at highest risk during the disaster risk assessment. Because P3DM provides local communities with a tangible, cheap and easy to reproduce methodology for assessing and reducing disaster risk it is expected that the participants will eventually take the lead in reproducing the activities on their own. In that view, the initial training should provide the momentum and the basic skills and knowledge for sustainable community based DRR.