VIEWS FROM THE FRONTLINE / GLOBAL REPORT

Why are people still losing their lives and livelihoods to disasters?

People

Countries

Organisations

Communities

Introduction

For decades governments, international institutions, civil society organisations, and people living in at-risk communities have tried to prevent disasters. Global and national polices have come and gone. Yet time and again lives are still devastated by floods, droughts, diseases, food shortages, poverty, conflict and pandemics. In 2019, nearly 200 civil society organisations, from more than 40 countries, set out to find out why – by asking those people directly at risk.

Led by GNDR members, Views from the Frontline 2019 has surveyed nearly 100,000 people on the ground in 575 communities so far. We’ve spoken to members of the public, local governments, civil society organisations and communities most at risk.

This is the largest independent global review of disaster risk conducted entirely at the local level.

Participants were asked about the threats they face (like floods, earthquakes, landslides, unemployment, epidemics, to name a few); what action can be taken to prevent disasters; and what the barriers to those actions are.

In analysing the results of the survey, we have drawn out nine key conclusions. These represent the major reasons why people are still losing their lives and livelihoods to disasters – as reported by the people who live in the places that are most at risk.

Conclusions

COMPLEX THREATS NEED INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS

Non-structural prevention measures are vital – but they’re often overlooked.

COMMUNITY EXCLUSION

The people most at risk of being hit by a disaster aren’t involved in decisions about how to reduce their own risk.

POOR PLANNING OF PARTICIPATION

Time and convenience are crucial to community participation in resilience plans and actions – but are rarely considered.

RESPONSIBILITIES NOT APPOINTED

Many local governments don’t have a designated department or legal mechanisms for assessing and addressing the threats faced by a community.

INFORMATION GAP

Governments are producing more information about disaster risk and their resilience-building initiatives, but this information isn’t reaching communities.

ABSENCE OF LOCAL FUNDING

Communities at risk of disasters are not able to directly access funds to build their own resilience.

LOST VOICES

Civil society organisations aren’t systematically sharing the real-life community experience of disasters with national and international decision-makers.

DEVELOPMENT ISN’T RISK-INFORMED

Local development projects rarely take into account the risks communities face.

UNDERUTILISED ECOSYSTEMS

More needs to be done to mainstream ecosystem-based approaches into disaster risk reduction policy and practice at the local and national level.