Rethinking Disasters: Why death and destruction is not natures fault but human failure

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A destructive combination of earthquakes, floods, droughts and other hazards make South Asia is the world’s most disaster-prone region. The effects are aggravated by climate change, unsuitable social and development policies, and environmental degradation. The effect is to slow or block development and keep millions trapped in poverty. It does not have to be this way. Oxfam's experience shows that successful disaster risk reduction policies, integrated into development work, save lives and money, making vulnerable communities more resilient and protecting development gains. This report examines how to achieve those goals – and the cost of failure.
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  Acknowledgements The Oxfam team for this report included Ian Bray, Shaheen Chughtai, Sean Kenny, Swati Narayan, Ben Phillips andMedha Soni. Oxfam would also like to thank all the development workers and experts from across Oxfam and otherorganisations who also made vital contributions to this report and without whom its production would not havebeen possible.Designed and printed by Mensa Computers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, mensa.computers@gmail.comThis publication is distributed in print and available fromSouth Asia Regional Centre,Oxfam (India) Trust27 Community Centre,East of KailashNew Delhi - 110065, IndiaTel: +91 11 42396000Fax: +91 11 42396099Email: publish@oxfam.org.ukCopies of this report and more information are available todownload at www.oxfam.org.ukPublished bySouth Asia Regional Centre,Oxfam (India) Trust27 Community Centre,East of KailashNew Delhi - 110065, IndiaThis report is part of a series of papers written to informpublic debate on development and humanitarianpolicy issues. The text may be used free of charge forthe purposes of advocacy, campaigning, education,and research, provided that the source isacknowledged in full.The copyright holder requests that all such use beregistered with them for impact assessmentpurposes. For copying in any other circumstances, orfor re-use in other publications, or for translation oradaptation, permission must be secured and a feemay be charged. E-mail : publish@oxfam.org.uk.For further information on the issues raised in thispaper please e-mail advocacy@oxfaminternational.org. Front cover images (Clockwise from top) :Villagers wade through flood water in Birathi Village,Darbhanga, Bihar after the embankment breach.Mani Kumar/India/Oxfam/2007Sahabudin , Rezia with their children, Rezaul, Ziarul, Bilkinin a makeshift shelter on the river bank. The family hasbeen displaced from their home due to erosion.Jane Beesley/Bangaldesh/Oxfam/2007Zar Bibi and her family have travelled from Raik inAfghanistan to Baluchistan in the hope of escaping fromthe drought; only to find themselves facing the sameconditions here.Annie Bungeroth/Oxfam/Pakistan/2001Village task force rescues people and livestock fromflooded areas in Nepal.Oxfam/Nepal/2007 Oxfam (India) Trust operates in India and is a part of OxfamGB, U.K. Oxfam GB is a member of Oxfam International © Oxfam International 2008  RRRRR ETHINKINGETHINKINGETHINKINGETHINKINGETHINKING Why death and destruction is not nature's faultbut human failure  A destructive combination of earthquakes, floods, droughts and other hazards make South Asia is the world’smost disaster-prone region. The effects are aggravated by climate change, unsuitable social and developmentpolicies and environmental degradation. The effect is to slow or block development and keep millions trappedin poverty.It does not have to be this way. Our experience shows that successful disaster risk reduction policies, integrated intodevelopment work, save lives and money, making vulnerable communities more resilient and protecting develop-ment gains. This report examines how to achieve those goals – and the cost of failure. DDDDD ISASTERSISASTERSISASTERSISASTERSISASTERS
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