Due to different definitions used in disaster-related literature, for the purpose of this Toolkit the main terms used are defined below. The full Glossary can also be downloaded in a .pdf format (see User Guide Section).
How different groups interact with and/or control other groups. Power relationships can be horizontal or vertical, and they can relate to institution-institution, institution-citizen or citizen-citizen relations. They also depend on the strength of power, i.e. contexts where local authorities and/or central government authorities are weak versus contexts where local authorities and/or central government authorities are strong.
Power relationships between government institutions and NGO’s, or between civil and military institutions, in disaster response.
“Father State” discourse: It may be seen by citizens, or groups of citizens, as the government’s/local authorities’ sole responsibility to take care of disaster preparedness and response.
Disasters can reinforce existing power relations if specific groups within a population use the situation to strengthen their social status and/or economic power.
The goal of emergency preparedness programs is to achieve a satisfactory level of readiness to respond to any emergency situation through programs that strengthen the technical and managerial capacity of governments, organizations, and communities. These measures can be described as logistical readiness to deal with disasters and can be enhanced by having response mechanisms and procedures, rehearsals, developing long-term and short-term strategies, public education and building early warning systems. Preparedness can also take the form of ensuring that strategic reserves of food, equipment, water, medicines and other essentials are maintained in cases of national or local catastrophes.
Prevention/mitigation activities actually eliminate or reduce the probability of disaster occurrence, or reduce the effects of unavoidable disasters. Mitigation measures include building codes; vulnerability analyses updates; zoning and land use management; building use regulations and safety codes; preventive health care; and public education.