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Editorial: Why is Community Action Needed for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation?

David Satterthwaite
Created: 9/30/2011 - Updated: 8/16/2019


When disasters happen, the speed and effectiveness of response depends very heavily on local organizations that represent the needs of those most impacted and most vulnerable. As the paper by Jorgelina Hardoy, Gustavo Pandiella and Luz Stella Velásquez Barrero notes, it is at the local or neighbourhood level that disasters happen, lives and livelihoods are lost, houses and infrastructure damaged or destroyed, and health and education compromised. It is also at the local level that many of the disaster risks can be addressed before disasters occur. Much of the responsibility for disaster risk reduction falls to local governments and much of the death and destruction from disasters shows up the failings of local government. The success of post-disaster actions is also to a large extent determined by pre-disaster planning and awareness and readiness within local government and civil society organizations. In this way, community action and partnerships with local government are central not just to minimizing risk but also in responding to impact and shaping recovery in ways that can strengthen local livelihoods and quality of life.

Published On

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Community / Local
Sector Addressed: 
Disaster Risk Management
Education / Outreach
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Diseases or parasites
Storms or extreme weather events
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Capacity Building
Design or reform institutions
Coordinate planning and management
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Community Planning (developing climate-smart communities)
Governance and Policy
Sociopolitical Setting: