Responding to urban disasters

O'Donnell, I. and Smart, K. with Ramalingam, B.
Publication language
Date published
31 Mar 2009
Lessons papers
Development & humanitarian aid, Disaster preparedness, resilience and risk reduction, Protection, human rights & security, Urban
Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Haiti, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, United States of America

Disaster response in an urban environment presents a wide variety of challenges.  Humanitarian organisations often have more experience of disaster response in rural
settings, and local authorities and community organisations may have little experience of planning and executing large-scale activities in response and recovery.

This paper draws on experience from the responses to number of urban disasters, including earthquake responses in Bam (Iran); Bhuj (India), Izmit (Turkey), and Kobe (Japan); storm and hurricane in Gonaives (Haiti) and New Orleans (United States), and conflict responses in
Angola and Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina). The paper highlights key lessons to guide local authorities, national governments, international agencies, the private sector, learning centres and community organisations in approaching the specific challenges of addressing and
responding to disaster risks in urban environments.