Climate-related disasters are on the rise and the effect of climate change is already straining the disaster relief system. Humanitarian actors have a significant responsibility, to strengthen their own preparedness capabilities, and to assist regional, national, and local actors in adapting to, and coping with, the changing climate.
The Danish approach to preparing for and responding to natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and floods will focus on the twin tracks of risk reduction and response, within the broader framework of vulnerability.
Disaster risk reduction is the first line of defence against disasters. The World Bank has calculated, that it costs seven times more to respond to a disaster resulting from natural hazards than to prevent its impact through risk reduction. It is in any case preferable to reduce the effect of disasters on vulnerable people in advance than for them to suffer injury, death and trauma, and then to have to rebuild their lives. However, when disaster hits, response must be swift.
People affected by natural hazards suffer injury, trauma and death, loss of their homes and livelihoods. However, it is important to acknowledge, that the first response is always local. The need to reach out to community level is also underscored by the fact that there is an increase in localised minor disasters.