The Secretary-General-
 Message on the International  Day for Disaster Reduction
 Information Kit
 Press release
World Water Day 2004
Water and Disaster

Turning the tide on disasters towards sustainable development
2003 World Disaster Reduction Campaign
Information Kit
Geneva, September 2003
Dear friends,

Water - too much, or too little - plays an integral part in our lives, holds our imaginations and impacts our communities. Hydrometeorological hazards, such as floods, droughts, landslides, tropical cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons, pose a risk to livelihoods and to the process of sustainable development.

The 2003 World Disaster Reduction Campaign looks at how we cope with water-related hazards, serving to raise awareness among decision-makers and the public that there is much we can do to reduce the impacts of hazards. While it is widely acknowledged that hydrometeorological hazards are on the rise due to human activities increasing vulnerabilities, there is still greater attention (and investment) paid to the disasters themselves and the resulting deaths and destruction.

Rather, we should be looking at the longer-term investment of disaster risk reduction strategies - incorporating disaster preparedness, mitigation and prevention - that would in fact in the end significantly reduce their impacts and costs. We need to shift our emphasis: from disaster relief to disaster reduction.

The World Disaster Reduction Campaign builds momentum throughout the year, culminating in the International Day for Disaster Reduction on 8 October whereby it is celebrated worldwide. We invite you to take part in the Campaign by organizing activities to highlight the importance of reducing the impacts of water-related hazards.

This information kit will provide you with a wealth of information related to the Campaign theme. People involved in disaster reduction around the world share with you their experiences, presenting real-life examples that could be applied in other regions. These stories are only a handful of numerous existing disaster reduction initiatives, aimed to serve as inspiration for action in your community. We encourage you to take the examples in this collection: translate and reproduce them, building upon them to make them relevant to your community to raise awareness, to inform, educate, and connect with others with similar experiences, initiating research, and fueling action.

Some of the articles discuss research in the field of disaster preparedness and mitigation, highlighting issues and principles which should underlie intervention programmes. Others tell of lessons learned and success stories across the world, demonstrating how communities, when faced with water-related hazards, have dealt with them.

Facts and figures, a list of relevant websites, a glossary of key terms and ideas for spreading the Campaign message provide further information that can be used to plan and promote events to mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction on 8 October 2003. On the ISDR website all information materials are available electronically for adaptation, reproduction and translation into other languages.

We hope that you will find this kit useful and share with us your experiences. We look forward to hearing about how you and your community participated in the 2003 World Disaster Reduction Campaign, and welcome your feedback by completing the feedback form herewith or contacting us at isdr@un.org .

Sálvano Briceño
Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

Contents (PDF format)
Inspiring ideas for raising awareness and education (147Kb)
Facts and figures (340Kb)
Water-related disasters websites (163Kb)
Glossary (147Kb)
Let Us Hear From You! (107Kb)

Lack of freshwater: A primary concern at times of disasters (159Kb)
Pan-American Center for Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Sciences (CEPIS), Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), Peru

This article raises the issue of protecting freshwater infrastructure for human consumption -during 'normal' times, and in particular during extreme events such as social conflicts and disaster situations. Access to freshwater following a disaster is crucial to assist communities in having their lives return to normal.

Community based flood hazard mapping: a simple and easy-to-understand tool for public awareness (163Kb)
Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC), Japan

The organization highlights the advantages of community mapping in reducing causalities during disasters, emphasizing the importance of community involvement, therefore contributing to wider understanding and responsibility.

Mobilising for mitigation: Weather proofing low income homes in Suurbraak, South Africa (175Kb)
Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Residents of in a low-income housing area in South Africa pool their money to weather proof their houses against future disasters.

The summer floods in Europe: A millennium flood? (181Kb)
MunichRe Group, Germany

Using the 2002 floods in Europe as a case study, MunichRe raises questions such as 'is man to blame?' and 'can the effects of floods be reduced?' to highlight the important role of insurance industry in disaster reduction.

Kot Nizam- From water blight to social delight (189Kb)
Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) -Sri Lanka; and Rural Development Policy Institute (RDPI), Pakistan

The construction of a road and a water channel brings social and cultural life back to a small village previously inundated and isolated by floods.

International Flood Mitigation Initiative for the Red River (IFMI) (166Kb)
Dick Gross, The Consensus Council and George Haddow, Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Disaster Management, George Washington University, USA

IFMI highlights initiatives that were born out after the Red River flood that impacted across the Canada-United States border.

Flood Kindergarten: Community Need to Community Solution (168Kb)
Department of Dyke Management, Flood and Storm Control, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Evidence shows that flood kindergartens in the Mekong Delta drastically reduce the number of child casualties in Vietnam. The Government of Vietnam recounts their experience in identifying and addressing flood vulnerability.

New South Wales State Emergency Service initiatives to reduce the impacts of flooding (170Kb)
Dr Chas Keys, New South Wales State Emergency Service with assistance from Jonathan Abrahams, Emergency Management Australia (EMA), Australia

The Australian state of New South Wales expands its emergency service program to include disaster reduction as well as disaster relief.

Damned to be Dammed? A Case Study of Ojirami Dam in Southern Nigeria (162Kb)
Society for Water and Public Health Protection (SWAPHEP), Nigeria

Small dams should also be seen as a potential source of hazard for surrounding communities, writes SWAPHEP, based on a study of dams in Southern Nigeria. The organization calls for risk assessment and management in communities near dams.

The ABCs of survival: Disaster training for kids in Armenia (168Kb)
Stephen Badalyan, European Interregional Center of Training Rescuers (ECTR), Armenia

Children in a small town Armenian town learn how to survive and help their community in case of a dam burst.

Aymaran rainwater harvesting (177Kb)
Félix Gutiérrez Matta, Apachita Foundation, Bolivia

The Aymaran indigenous people of Bolivia have adopted traditional practices to collect water in the mountains and pampas by way of constructing qhuthañas.

Trends in Risk and An Integrated Approach To Reducing Societal Vulnerability To Drought (210Kb)
Dr. Don A. Wilhite, ISDR Ad-hoc Discussion Group on Drought, National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA

Vulnerability in the context of drought is often increased due to social factors such as population density, conflict and urbanisation.

Drought: Vulnerability and Crisis in Drylands (148Kb)
Eric Patrick, Drylands Development Centre, United Nations Development Programme, Kenya

Societal, institutional and environmental dynamics make drylands populations in Africa vulnerable to climactic fluctuations.

Turning the tide on typhoon damage in the Philippines (197Kb)
Gareth Hearn and Jonathan Hart, Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick & Co Ltd, United Kingdom

Road rehabilitation in a mountainous agriculturally rich area of Philippines tries to counteract effects of cyclones and man made slope degradation.

The role of dialect specific radio warnings in saving lives during cyclonic disaster in Bangladesh (183Kb)
Mohammad Sahid Ullah, Forum for Development, Journalism and Communication Studies (FOCUS), Bangladesh

Ullah writes about a study conducted by FOCUS which reveals that aside from scientific accuracy, the appropriateness of culture, language and medium is critical for disseminating early warning information.

Battling nature in Mozambique (188Kb)
National Institute of Meteorology and the US Agency for International Development's (USAID) Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET), Mozambique Integrated Information Network For Decision-Making (MIND), Mozambique

An innovative warning system approach in Mozambique helps raise awareness about cyclones.


More articles
River freshets and dam safety in the republic of Armenia (36Kb)
Kamo Aghababyan, Armenia
Goals of transboundary nature and use of water resources based on the case of basins of the rivers Kura and Araks (28Kb)
A.I. Tarverdayn, Armwodproekt Institute, Armenia
Using GIS for assessing, monitoring and protecting the river basins and ground water resources of Armenia (131Kb)
Dangers expected from water resources, their prediction and advantageous use (25Kb)

The Australian drought of 2002-2003 (665Kb)
Andrew Watkins, National Climate Centre, Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology, Australia

Flood warning – role in managing risk (24Kb)
Jim Elliott, Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology, Australia
An attempt on application of alternative strategies for community based flood preparedness in South-Asia (Bangladesh) (561Kb)
Disaster Mitigation Programme, Intermediate Technology Development Group, Bangladesh
Prociv y defensa civil entregan donación de la organizacion panamericana de la salud (OMS/OPAS) para la biblioteca del departamento de hidraulica de la universidad de Sao Paulo, Brasil (379Kb)
Prociv, Brazil
Peligro en el mar caribe: la región se encuentra en un período activo de huracanes que durará varios años (94Kb)
Dr. José Rubiera, Centro Nacional de Pronósticos, Instituto de Meteorología, Cuba
La sequia del 2001 en Guatemala: Un enfoque del riesgo asociado (499Kb)
Gerencia de Gestión de Riesgo – CONRED, Guatemala, Guatemala

Hurricane ‘Lili’ puts disaster preparedness to the test (22Kb)

Living with risk in the Indian Himalaya region (284Kb)
Varun Joshi, G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, India
What does the community want to know about disasters? (21Kb)
Cabinet Office of Japan, Japan
Empowering women in arid areas to manage water (339Kb)
Disaster Management Branch, Division of Environmental Implementation (DEPI), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Kenya
Nicaragua: preparing for disaster on all fronts (240Kb)
European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), Belgium

El agua y la vulnerabilidad social (23Kb)
Profesor Lincoln Alayo Bernal, Centro de Capacitación y Prevención para el Manejo de Emergencia y Medio Ambiente, Perú

Descripción y evaluación de un sistema de qochas en la cuenca norte del Titicaca (250Kb)
Roberto Valdivia F. y Jorge Reinoso R., Centro de Investigación de Recursos Naturales y Medio Ambiente (CIRNMA) y Elías Mujica, Instituto Andino de Estudios Arqueológicos (INDEA) y Consorcio para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Ecorregión Andina (CONDESAN)
Radio communication saves lives in Tajikistan (392Kb)
European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), Belgium
Environmental impacts of water resources development of enclosed basins - The case of the Dead Sea (24Kb)
Elias Salameh