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Christian Aid welcomes plans to build disaster resilience

March 28 2011 - Christian Aid welcomes the Humanitarian Emergency Response Review’s focus on building disaster resilience and calls on the UK Government to step up its support for such programmes.

It warns that success will depend on working with local partner organisations and communities in strengthening their ability to cope.

Head of Christian Aid’s humanitarian division, Nick Guttmann, said: ‘In countries where resources are limited, even in the most disaster-prone parts of the world, governments have been slow to plan and slower still to act, and when disaster strikes, communities are left to cope alone. ‘We have found that if communities are aware, if they are prepared, and if they know the risks, lives can be saved.

‘It is essential that the Government recognises that the most effective measures will involve working with local civil society organisations and residents to build up preparedness, reduce vulnerability and strengthen their ability to respond.’

Such work has been a priority for Christian Aid for the past five years and, working with partners, innovative work has been pioneered in a number of countries.
Mr Guttmann also welcomed the review’s emphasis on accountability. ‘One element of that is ensuring that the people who are most affected by disasters receive the benefits of the aid provided. Working through local organisations and individuals make that much easier to achieve,’ he said. 

Examples of resilience building supported by Christian Aid include:

• In Bangladesh, communities have drawn maps of their villages to identify houses and areas most at risk from flooding. Local early warning systems have also been established using community radios and linked to Red Cross warning systems.  

• Hurricane prone communities across Central America and the Caribbean have been helped prepare evacuation plans, and build flood defences and anti-erosion barriers to provide
protection from future storms.

• In Malawi, where poor rains repeatedly result in pitiful harvests causing food shortages, seeds and water provided by a Christian Aid partner have enabled many families to plant a second crop.

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Further information from Andrew Hogg on 0207 523 2058 or 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950  

Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk