The outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues
In the past several weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased rapidly. Thousands have lost lives, and even more, are fighting for theirs in hospitals. Although countries have introduced unprecedented measures to prevent the spread of the disease, this comes with a significant social and economic cost. The impacts it could have can be felt by most vulnerable communities with weak public health systems and poorer countries across the world whose populations are already facing multiple threats to their health and livelihoods.
While there is evidence of countries’ growing understanding and appreciation of the importance of strengthened disaster response capacity, IIRR also identified the need for increased community capacities and engagement, greater political commitment and the availability of financial resources for Disaster Risk Reduction.
IIRR’s capacity to respond
IIRR has a proven track of building capacities of vulnerable communities taking control of their disaster risks while pursuing sustainable, equitable and just communities.
In partnership with local and international organizations, IIRR has developed and advocated Community-managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) for over 10 years.
Together with UNICEF, DFID, and the Ugandan Office of the Prime Minister, IIRR produced a document “A guide to Community-Based Monitoring of Viral Hepatitis, Nodding Disease, Ebola and Marburg Epidemics in the Communities”, which establishes a specific set of guidelines in community-level initial assessment and monitoring of epidemics.
The following actions were identified to help lessen the impact of epidemics:
- Providing a list that serves as a guideline comprising early warning signs or signals that are observable by the communities and community health workers without necessarily undertaking scientific tests, and
- Establishing a Disaster Risk Mobile System where community-managed disaster monitors are placed in specific locations who are responsible for monitoring signals and reporting these to a centralized office.
A community-based DRR initiative such as the above will largely help build the capacity of local disaster management committees in early warning and action.
Upholding the concepts of CMDRR
IIRR has championed Community-managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) in Africa and Asia since 2007. With the COVID-19 crisis, IIRR continues to advocate CMDRR as an essential element of achieving empowered rural communities. IIRR will continue to design, deliver and scale-up locally-driven disaster risk reduction in Asia and Africa.