COVID 19 LIAISE - Project 01
Embedding COVID-19 preparedness into local disaster risk reduction
The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented event in modern human history. While the World Health Organisation has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, its underlying factors, vulnerabilities and impacts go far beyond the health sector, hitting the world’s most vulnerable the hardest, including women, children and youth, older persons, migrant workers, displaced people and refugees, and persons living with disabilities, among others. It is an example of systemic risk: when a hazard leads not only to negative effects in parts of the system but also threatens the failure of the entire system.
The national approach evident in the pandemic response is not sufficient to meet the challenges that lie ahead. It is particularly important to better align prevention and response efforts of health ministries and disaster management authorities, from national to local. COVID-19 has underlined that response mechanisms require a lot of strengthening. Most countries do not have operational experience in handling a combination of natural and biological hazard preparedness planning.
Our project will provide insights on several critical problems that need to be better understood in order to improve epidemic and pandemic preparedness. COVID-19 is a biological disaster. There needs to be a better understanding on how risk works, especially how risk cascades with unexpected consequences, and how to build capacities to manage this. How can we prepare for early and better recovery that prevents the emergence of new risk with early and rapid actions from the DRR-related organisations? Our rationale is that pandemic preparedness has to be holistic and build national to local resilience that integrates public health and disaster risk management. This is core to the pandemic planning and preparedness, together with adequate risk communication, risk perception and risk-informed behaviour of communities at risk.