Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster Risk Reduction

Oxfam works with communities on disaster risk reduction, helping to anticipate and prepare for the most common kinds of events, and prevent or mitigate the worst impacts.

The Situation

Every year, more than 35 million people have to abandon their homes as a result of war, crime, political unrest and natural disaster. Many lose everything they own. And it's the world's poorest communities who are hit hardest.

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) aims to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones through an ethic of prevention.

We work with communities to improve disaster preparedness, reduce vulnerability and build peoples' resilience to shocks, stresses and uncertainty.

Hazards do not need to become disasters. By helping communities to better understand the risks they face and building their capacity to adapt to, cope with, withstand and recover from hazards and climate change, we can help them to not only survive, but thrive.


Where needed most


Disaster Risk Reduction at a Glance

Growing global inequality, increasing hazard exposure, rapid urbanisation and overconsumption of energy and natural capital now threaten to dive risk to dangerous and unpredictable levels (UN, 2015).

35 M
people have to abandon their homes as a result of war, crime, political unrest and natural disaster every year.
$250 M+
Average economic losses from disasters each year.
42 M
lives were lost in disasters each year between 1980 and 2012

What are we doing?

Managing risk and uncertainty
Adapting to the predicted impacts of climate change
Influencing decision makers to promote DRR through their policies, planning and funding

What do we hope to achieve?

Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience is much more than helping people cope or bounce back after a disaster: it is about empowering women, men, girls and boys to reduce their vulnerability and risk before the disaster strikes and have access to the necessary skills, knowledge and information to continually adapt to ongoing change, stress and disruption.

Underpinning all of Oxfam's resilience work is a strong belief that everyone has a basic right to life and security, and to a sustainable livelihood. This means addressing root causes of risk, vulnerability and disadvantage because the causes of inequality (such as poverty, gender discrimination and unequal power) make poor and marginalised people disproportionately vulnerable to shocks and stresses.

It also means ensuring the agency of people in all aspects of our work - in other words, ensuring that people are in charge of their own lives, and participating in decisions that affect their lives.

You can support Oxfam's work to reduce risk during disasters by donating to our Emergency Response Fund.

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