Disaster risk reduction begins at school
2006-2007 World Disaster Reduction Campaign
English - Français - Español
Launch 2006 - Paris
Frequently asked
Fact sheet
What can be done?
Good Practices and Lessons Learned
Case studies
Photo gallery
ISDR online Video Game
On-line resources
International Day for Disaster Reduction 2006
International Day for Disaster Reduction 2007
Press kit full version
PDF format
English 6MB
Français 7MB
Español 7MB

The campaign is supported
by the ISDR system
thematic cluster on knowledge and education, which is convened by:

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation

For more information

Brigitte Leoni
Tel: +41 22 917 49 68

Laura Ngo-Fontaine
Tel: +41 22 917 27 89

Palais des Nations
CH 1211 Geneva 10,
Fax: +41 22 917 05 63

Case studies
Let’s be prepared
An educational project about disasters in Cuba

Cuba is heavily exposed to natural hazards such as tropical cyclones, floods, intense rains and strong winds. During an average season up to ten hurricanes are formed, however awareness of these natural hazard risks have increased in recent years and the Cuban Government has implemented strategies to significantly reduce the population’s vulnerability to disasters which have decreased loss of life, agriculture, and livestock.

Cuba has incorporated disaster risk awareness into different school programmes through cultural training, extracurricular and non-teacher-centered activities. These activities draw on cross-cutting issues such as disaster prevention and preparedness. Despite these efforts, the links between disaster education and communities still require strengthening with students as the leading actors in this process.

The project entitled “A Prepararnos” was implemented in the province of Holguin to develop environmental education through formal, non-formal and informal means with the active participation of children and the community at large. The project focused on the relationship between schools and communities. It also established follow-up mechanisms for specific results, and adapted a number of methodologies based upon the local environment, existing problems and natural and human disasters and their prevention. The project was implemented in pilot schools and communities throughout the 14 municipalities of Holguin.

Local risk management in earthquake zones of Kazakhstan
UNDP Kazakhstan
Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan
Due to the diversity of landscape, climate conditions and industrial infrastructure, Kazakhstan is at risk of high levels of natural and man-made disasters, in particular to strong and devastating earthquakes. Approximately 30 per cent (650,000 km2) of Kazakh territory is home to more than six million inhabitants and a high concentration of industrial facilities (40%) are located in the high seismic zones.

An estimated 200,000 residents in Almaty live in building types that are vulnerable to seismic hazards, and it is projected that up to one third of all residential buildings would be destroyed in the event of a catastrophic earthquake. This does not include public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, power plants and other critical facilities, which are also at great risk. Given the unlikelihood that existing structures will be retrofitted to protect against seismic vulnerability, a comprehensive seismic safety programme must include building the capacity of local organizations to respond to emergencies. The framework outlined below not only advanced the critical educational messages being communicated under the Central Asia Region for Earthquake Safety Initiative (CARESI), but also promoted the response capacity of one of Kazakhstan’s leading non-governmental organizations that have a proven track record in delivering disaster preparedness, response, and health services.

In response to an umbrella initiative of the UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Disaster Reduction Unit (UNDP/BCPR/DRU), the Government of Kazakhstan and UNDP in Kazakhstan designed a joint project to support local risk management in earthquake zones of Kazakhstan.
Disaster-resistant schools
A tool for universal primary education

Development Intervention Fund, Madagascar
The cyclone-prone island of Madagascar is on track to reach the Millennium Development Goal of Universal Primary Education by 2015. In the last three years, primary school attendance rate increased by 80 per cent, from 53 percent in 2002 to 95 per cent in late 2005.

The Malagasy Government’s free supply of school materials such as textbooks and pens to low-income families in selected areas, a massive recruitment and training of primary school teachers, and the construction disaster resistant school buildings are three main factors that have contributed to the rise in primary school attendance.
School safety as part of post-conflict reconstruction
Community based disaster management, Afghanistan
Afghanistan frequently experiences disasters such as earthquakes, floods, sandstorms and extreme winter. What makes the response and recovery processes difficult is the low capacity left after more than two decades of wars and internal conflicts. As part of the community, schools and school children suffer from both disasters and post-conflict hardships. School buildings are weak, old and poorly maintained. Infrastructure is very poor, and there are hardly any resources with the local administrators to improve things. Most crucially, knowledge resources on mitigation and preparedness are extremely scarce.

In 2003, under the arrangement with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Department of Disaster Preparedness (DDP) of the Government of Afghanistan, SEEDS carried out the consultation process for the preparation of National Disaster Management Plan for Afghanistan. The following year SEEDS worked with UNAMA and DDP for dissemination of the National Plan towards Community Based Disaster Management in Afghanistan. The dissemination activities included awareness and capacity building of line ministries, provincial and district governments, and schools. The school component was important as this was viewed as the critical link between government plans and community initiatives.
From rehabilitation to safety
Gujarat school safety initiative, India

A devastating earthquake hit Gujarat in western India in 2001. The tragedy was marked with a very high number of casualties among school children. Many school building collapsed, trapping children and teachers under their rubble. The loss of 400 school children in the city of Anjar is one of the many school-based incidents that are etched in the memories of those who lived through the disaster. Extensive rehabilitation programmes followed the earthquake, into which were woven elements of disaster mitigation and preparedness. The Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA) and national NGO SEEDS took up the Gujarat School Safety Initiative, a first of its kind in the region.

The project addresses two issues:

  1. Understanding and preparedness amongst school children, teachers and parents to reduce disaster risk in schools and to be prepared to act appropriately in an emergency
  2. Disaster management appreciation amongst teachers so that they are able to impart disaster education to children more effectively

Direct implementation of school based preparedness activities is being carried out in 175 schools and teachers’ training is being conducted across 25 Districts.