Towards more resilient communities

A Mindanao-based disaster-prevention advisor spells out what it takes to prepare for the worst.

Generally, resilience is defined as the capacity to bounce back from difficulty.

In disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaption (CCA), resilience is all about people.

Thus, it is necessary and practical to capacitate people to bounce back from difficulties, particularly after a “serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society at any scale due to hazardous events interacting with conditions of exposure, vulnerability and capacity, leading to one or more of the following: human, material, economic and environmental losses and impacts” or disaster.

Capacitating people means equipping institutions and communities exposed and vulnerable to hazards. 
The framework of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management has set standards and provided a paradigm in realizing the vision of a resilient Philippines.

Essentially, the framework commences with risk factors; hazards, exposures, vulnerabilities, and capacities. It connotes assessment and analysis of risk factors before any other activities start.

The assessment and analysis of risk factors must be the cornerstone of planning for development interventions in the four thematic areas namely; mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response and early recovery, and rehabilitation and recovery.

Capacitating institutions necessitates the mainstreaming of DRR and CCA development interventions to local development plans, and the provision of resources by incorporating the programs in the annual development and investment plans.

Furthermore, the people must also be equipped by bringing development interventions to where they are. Ensuring the resilience of people in communities signifies access to appropriate information, knowledge, skills and attitude, utilization of technology and tools, provision of support and resources, and establishing a sense of ownership. Toward these ends, there is a need to institutionalize community-driven actions.

Thus, when threats of disaster are present and imminent, resilience suggests maintaining the standards of bouncing back towards the sustainable development of Filipino communities by becoming safer, adaptive and disaster-resilient. (Mr. Garcia is  a capacity-building trainor based in Compostela Valley, Mindanao. Photo shows a swath of ravaged land during Yolanda's wrath upon the country in November 2013)