Department of Environmental Sciences
Geography / Urban and Regional Studies
Klingelbergstrasse 27
CH-4056 Basel

+41 (0)61 207 36 44

» Map   
» Library

II. Mitigating disaster impact - effectiveness, problems and potentials of selected technical approaches

1. Setting up an Emergency Response Guideline for Local Organizations

Christoph Schlumpf

Global change has increased the frequency and the impact of natural disasters. The way how local, national or international organizations and the government respond to such events is decisive. Good planning and preparedness can improve and speed-up the emergency response. The objective of the study was to set up a guideline for local organizations, based on the emergency response strategies of international organizations. The guideline worked out is divided into two parts: one focuses on the preparation for a disaster event and the other one on the time during and after the disaster. It is important for local organizations to adapt the concept of how to prepare for a disaster to their own geographical and emergency related context. There are several aspects that should be considered by local organizations while dealing with emergencies. These are, for example, training for the establishment of a response team, setting up cooperation between local organizations, aid agencies and the government, establishing early warning systems, saving goods and money, creating a risk map and providing insurance. The period during and after the disaster must address aspects like the speed of the response to assess the most pressing needs, to provide goods, first aid and psychological support, to support the local market, to focus on livelihood and to reduce the future vulnerability. In addition, there are several aspects that need to be considered especially by national and international organizations: inclusion of all parties concerned, independent work, coordination with local organizations, consideration of the local circumstances and integration of the affected population in the planning. Finally, the organization should emphasize minimum standards in disaster response like food or health standards. The short guideline developed addressed these aspects.

2. The Flood of 2005 Compared to the Flood of 2007 in Two Communities of Kheda and Bhuj

Daniel Rufener

The study uses socio-economic indicators to compare the impact and consequences of a flood on poor households. The study area comprises four flood-affected communities in the Cities of Kheda and Bhuj that were affected by floods in 2005 and 2007. Data indicate that the flood of 2005 had for all communities less impact in terms of water levels measured, whereas the flood impact of 2007 was considerably higher. Despite the heavier impact one of the slum communities could manage to reduce the damage to business and households for the 2007 flood: After the floods of 2005, AIDMI launched a cash for work programme in the Indiranagar slum community of Bhuj. The community received construction materials for houses, streets and a community work place, whereas the household members provided the work. This programme was conducted on a communal basis with communal benefit. In the other two communities a more individual approach was taken. The inhabitants of the slum communities of Ashapuranagar and Shantinagar near Kheda City tried to establish solutions to their flood problem on their own. An actual community approach to solve problems could not be found. Instead, individuals raised the level of their plinth or foundation before or after every flood. However, neither the impact on business nor the physical damage to the household was reduced between 2005 and 2007. This paper, then, makes a case for assisted self-help.