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ALNAP Lessons: Responding to Urban Disasters

ALNAP Lessons: Responding to Urban Disasters

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Published by Jeffrey Marzilli
This paper draws on experience from the responses to number of urban disasters, including earthquake responses in Bam (Iran); Bhuj (India), Izmit (Turkey), and Kobe (Japan); storm and hurricane in Gonaives(Haiti) and New Orleans (United States), and conflict responses in Angola and Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina). The paper
highlights key lessons to guide local uthorities, national governments, international agencies, the private sector,
learning centres and community rganisations in approaching the specific challenges of addressing and responding to disaster risks in urban environments.
This paper draws on experience from the responses to number of urban disasters, including earthquake responses in Bam (Iran); Bhuj (India), Izmit (Turkey), and Kobe (Japan); storm and hurricane in Gonaives(Haiti) and New Orleans (United States), and conflict responses in Angola and Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina). The paper
highlights key lessons to guide local uthorities, national governments, international agencies, the private sector,
learning centres and community rganisations in approaching the specific challenges of addressing and responding to disaster risks in urban environments.

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Published by: Jeffrey Marzilli on Mar 28, 2013
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 ALNAP
LessonsNo5
Responding to urban disasters
Learning from previous relief and recovery operations
Contents
3
Lesson 1Comprehensive assessment of needs,capacities and vulnerabilities is essential forappropriate targeting
7
Lesson 2Ensure safety of affected populationand operational staff in theimmediate aftermath
9
Lesson 3Response and recovery efforts should start onday one, and effective coordination,partnerships and communicationsare paramount
Lesson 4Effective multi-stakeholder planning isessential both before and during disasters,and requires investment of time andresources
................................................................................................................................
Lesson 5Engagement and partcipation of local actorsare essential for a relevant and effectiveresponse
................................................................................................................................
15Expanding the capacity of communities to managedisaster risks
Lesson 6Re-establishing local economies andlivelihoods is fundamental forrecovery efforts
Lesson 7Focus on moving beyond the provision ofshelter to the construction of settlements
24Linking infrastructure and services in settlementplanning
Lesson 8Effective risk reduction is the key toovercoming persistent cycles ofvulnerability
 
 ALNAP
Lessons
 
RESPONDING TO URBAN DISASTERS
 
PAGE 2
 www.alnap.org
RESPONDING TO URBAN DISASTERS
Learning from previous relief andrecovery operations
Disaster response in an urban environment presents a wide variety of challenges. Humanitarian organisationsoften have more experience of disaster response in ruralsettings, and local authorities and communityorganisations may have little experience of planning andexecuting large-scale activities in response and recovery.This paper draws on experience from the responses tonumber of urban disasters, including earthquakeresponses in Bam (Iran); Bhuj (India), Izmit (Turkey), andKobe (Japan); storm and hurricane in Gonaives (Haiti) andNew Orleans (United States), and conflict responses in Angola and Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina). The paperhighlights key lessons to guide local authorities, nationalgovernments, international agencies, the private sector,learning centres and community organisations inapproaching the specific challenges of addressing andresponding to disaster risks in urban environments.
 ALNAP SECRETARIAT
Overseas Development Institute111 Westminster Bridge RoadLondon SE1 7JD, UKTel: + 44 (0)20 7922 0300Fax:+ 44 (0)20 7922 0399Email: alnap@alnap.orgWebsite: www.alnap.orgPlease send any feedback and comments on this paper to alnap@alnap.org
PROVENTION CONSORTIUM SECRETARIAT
IFRCPO Box 37217, chemin des CrêtsCH-1211 Geneva 19SwitzerlandEmail: provention@ifrc.orgWebsite: www.proventionconsortium.org
 
 ALNAP
Lessons
 
RESPONDING TO URBAN DISASTERS
 
PAGE 3
 www.alnap.org
INTRODUCTION
 According to the United Nations, the world’s population first became more urban than rural between 2007 and 2008 – withmore than 50% of the world’s people now living in urban areas. As Figure 1 illustrates, much of the increase in urban populations over the coming years will be in less developed regions
1
,because of natural population growth and rural-to-urban migration.This shift is more than a transmission of population from one place to another – it is also involves a transformation oflives and livelihoods. Cities and urban centres are highly diverse in terms of the forms they take, the social and politicalstructures that emerge within them, and the range of needs and interests of their constituent communities. This varietyis as marked within as across different urban centres: there may be as much variety
within 
Dhaka and Delhi respectivelyas there is
between 
them.Urban centres are typically strongly interconnected with peri-urban and rural areas within nations and regions, throughcommon markets or trade links, and with wider globalised communities through remittances. Urban populations are verydynamic, with high rates of migration in and out of urban centres. Urban economies reflect this interconnectedness anddiversity, and often making a vital contribution to the national economy. As a result of all of this diversity, interconnectedness and size, urban governance often requires sophisticated social andpolitical mechanisms. Effective urban governance draws on both formal and informal processes, and requires engagementof a broad range of stakeholders from local to national levels.Of particular interest to the constituencies of ALNAP and Provention is how these shifts impacts on the need for and contextof humanitarian response and disaster risk reduction work. As urban growth continues unabated in many parts of the world, the vulnerability of those living in urban areas is also increasing. This is for two main reasons: failure to address
1
The UN Population Division categorises less developed regions as all regions of Africa, Asia (excluding Japan),Latin America and the Caribbean plus Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.
195019601970198019902000201020202030204020500100020003000400050006000
More developed regions, urban populationLess developed regions, rural populationLess developed regions, urban populationMore developed regions, rural population
Figure 1. Urban and rural populations, by development group, 1950–2050

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