After a disaster

Image: SPR
After a disaster & our work throughout the world
Sustainable livelihood

Livelihood ensures everything that an individual needs in order to live. Livelihood is sustainable when it helps people to surpass times of crisis and also increases the well-being of the next generations without overusing natural resources.

After the immediate disaster relief phase it is time to start the reconstruction phase.

The people who have faced destruction need help in recovering their everyday lives. People need primarily nutrition, health, a home and a livelihood as well as the strength and readiness to be prepared for upcoming disasters.

The Red Cross is present before, during and even after the disaster. The continuum between development cooperation, disaster relief and reconstruction is always systematically strengthened.  

During the disaster, operations that save lives are a priority. Quick and efficient distribution of nutrition and water as well as providing shelter and health care are a vital help in the alleviation of suffering and in minimising the death toll.

In addition to practical experience, research results have also indicated that the upcoming reconstruction phase must be taken into account during the acute disaster relief phase. Without exceptions, disaster relief must be planned in a way that supports the reconstruction phase. In the worst case, the recovery from a crisis could even be hindered without sustainable aid planning.

“The Finnish Red Cross has been an exceptionally important supporter for us due to the fact that, instead of being only temporary after-care after the Nargis cyclone, the Finnish aid has been long-term work that is still going on as a community-based health programme,” says Doctor Saw Ni Tun, Head of the Health Division of the Myanmar Red Cross.

It is the principle of the Finnish Red Cross to shift as quickly as possible from humanitarian aid towards reconstruction and development cooperation programmes.

The aim is to incorporate into the disaster relief forms of aid that reinforce the self-sufficiency of the people in need of help at as early a stage as possible:

  • Small-scale projects improve the subsistence of the aided people.
  • Food security and health programmes lend support to the restoration of the living circumstances of communities. 
  • Improving the communities' preparedness for the future.
  • Supporting and reinforcing the capacity of the local Red Cross to provide aid to vulnerable communities.

When commencing the reconstruction it is important that the aid work supports and reinforces the improved preparedness of the communities to respond to upcoming disasters. Restoring the situation to the level at which it was prior to the disaster may predispose people to new disasters.

In disaster prone areas, it is equally important for the development cooperation to take into account the existing risks and vulnerability to disasters as well as to aim at removing the factors causing disasters as well as possible, and at improving the ability of the communities to survive.