Preventing water-related disasters

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Water is perhaps the most crucial natural resource, and yet it can wreak havoc when unleashed during tsunamis and floods. Mercy Corps works with Xylem Watermark, the social investment arm of the global water technology provider, to shore up communities in the world's toughest places against the threat of water-related disasters.

Disaster risk reduction programs, gaining more traction as climate change increases the global water crisis, often include managing floodplains, engineering barriers along river banks and building bridges to evacuate frequently flooded areas. These programs, now under way in Indonesia (pictured), Colombia, China, Ethiopia, Nepal and Tajikistan, can save the greatest number of lives by addressing water-related risks before disaster strikes.

This photo was taken in Tanah Njonja, Jakarta, Indonesia in 2007, shortly after flooding displaced nearly 430,000 people. Mercy Corps responded to the emergency by rushing essential supplies — including hygiene and baby care items, cooking oil and potable water — to the thousands of residents who became homeless. Learn more about what we're doing today to strengthen villages against future disasters.

For more information on Disaster Risk Reduction Water Initiatives, visit