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Preparing for disasters

January 27, 2011

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Erin Gray

Edinburgh Evening News / The Scotsman
January, 2011

The future of charity work in the developing world must be "disaster prevention", not just picking up the pieces afterwards.

Over the last year it's been hard to miss the images of disaster-struck families on TV and in the papers, whether from the earthquake in Haiti or the floods in Pakistan. We all want to help where we can, but in the wake of the recession, rather than just reacting to disasters shouldn't we take a tip from the Scouts and help these communities "be prepared" in the first place?

The cost of launching full-scale humanitarian operations to help communities devastated by earthquakes, floods and tsunamis can be massive, and the rate of disasters is certainly showing no sign of slowing down. At Mercy Corps' European headquarters here in Edinburgh and through our teams around the world, we've seen the number of people affected by natural disasters triple in the last 30 years.