Prevention, Mitigation, and Preparedness (PMP) is the channel through which FOCUS works to decrease a community’s vulnerability to natural disasters such as landslides, floods, mudslides, epidemics, and earthquakes, catastrophic rain or snow, and prepares them to respond rapidly and effectively to natural disasters. In this way, the initiative also seeks to ensure that communities are empowered in the learning process. There are a variety of activities in each category, including: building community awareness, the provision of communications equipment (two-way radios), and mitigation projects, such as flood retaining walls.
FOCUS PMP programmes are currently active at various levels in India, Tajikistan and Pakistan and are implemented in partnership with the AKDN, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the European Union (DIPECHO), United States government (USAID) and the Japanese Social Development Fund.
PMP in India - Preparing Families and Communities in Schools and Hospitals
Practical experience in basic fire-fighting skills for local community volunteers
In India, FOCUS PMP initiatives operate in seven states. FOCUS facilities the development of annual, comprehensive disaster response plans in local communities enabling families to be better informed about the potential consequences of natural and manmade disasters. FOCUS works in collaboration with local schools, hospitals, specialist institutes as well as their stakeholders to ensure these communities are increasingly aware of what can be done to minimise potential dangers. Recently, FOCUS designed a training module on “Disaster Preparedness in Hospitals” aiming to enhance awareness in the medical fraternity for external and internal disaster responses. FOCUS will begin disaster preparedness training for hospital staff across Western India helping create safer environments.
Building a flood retaining wall under FOCUS’ Japanese Social Development Fund project Fostering disaster-resilient communities in isolated mountain areas is a primary goal for FOCUS. In Tajikistan, FOCUS builds disaster-resilient communities through programmes funded by the Disaster Preparedness Agency of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (DIPECHO). These programmes operate in vulnerable areas of Vanj, Ishkashim, Roshtkala and Shugnan. Awareness-raising programmes, community disaster management planning and disaster-mitigation projects have reached nearly 37,000 beneficiaries. FOCUS also implements projects to strengthen the abilities of local communities and institutions, especially those of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense (MoESCD), to cope with disasters through scientific knowledge generation, information management, capacity building, and community-based risk reduction initiatives.
A further DIPECHO grant will enhance risk management capacities in Tajikistan through the refinement of a risk model; risk assessment and risk reduction activities in villages; two-way radio communication systems; further strengthening of MoESCD’s capacity; and knowledge dissemination among institutions of higher education.
In collaboration with the Japanese Social Development Fund, FOCUS is implementing a programme aimed at reducing poverty in high mountain areas. This programme intends to further FOCUS’ mission of enabling disaster resilient communities not only through disaster preparedness and mitigation, but also with the added element of prioritised small-scale community-based investments identified by the communities themselves. To date, FOCUS has implemented structural mitigation projects, road rehabilitation, communications and income generation projects.
In partnership with Geo Hazard International (GHI) and funded by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), FOCUS has implemented the Central Asian Republics Earthquake Safety Initiative (CARESI). The programme entails seminars which target government, urban communities, NGOs and research institutes and identify and implement measures to reduce the impact of seismic activity in Dushanbe. Some of the activities under this programme include the preparation and distribution of a Risk Reduction Framework in Russian and English; completion of 641 training sessions for 9,532 participants in Dushanbe; training of MoESCD representatives on Community Disaster Volunteers; and training professors from Tajik Technical University on Urban Community-Based Disaster Mitigation in Istanbul.
In 2006, FOCUS partnered with Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to extend the geographic coverage of the CARESI project to the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). FOCUS is implementing awareness and training activities in six cities (Dushanbe, Khorog, Khojand, Kurgan-Teppa, Kulyab, and Garm) and 200 villages, thus benefiting at least 50,000 families. This programme will include the production and distribution of disaster awareness materials to all participants.PMP in Pakistan - Towards Disaster Resilient Communities
Practical experience in basic first aid skills for local community volunteers FOCUS Pakistan’s Prevention, Mitigation and Preparedness programme is based on a strategy of community preparedness and local capacity building which aims to reduce the vulnerability of over half a million people living in the mountainous Northern Areas of Pakistan against natural disasters.
FOCUS designed the Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) programme to enable disaster resilient communities by training men and women in vital skill sets and empowering them with basic technical knowledge required to respond, survive and recover from disasters.
In the Northern Areas, in population of nearly 700,000, FOCUS has trained over 25,000 community volunteers to utilise local resources to respond and manage local disaster situations. Volunteers undergo organisational, basic first aid as well as vigorous mountain search and rescue training. At community level, the volunteers are divided into planning and response groups ready to be deployed at short notice. FOCUS also provides stockpiles at community and regional level to support a community’s timely and effective response.
Crisis Response and Disaster Risk Reduction: An Overview of Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS)
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