Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean
Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Partners in Action
the Behaviour of a People to Reduce Disaster Vulnerability
During the 28 January-8 February meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, it was concluded that in the past four decades economic losses world-wide due to disasters have increased tenfold, and approximately 97% of disaster-related deaths around the world occur in developing countries like Peru. By 2050, the Commission warned, natural disasters will be responsible for the loss of 100,000 human lives a year, as well as US$300,000 million in economic losses. After a disaster has struck, indirect losses to trade, particularly in the informal sector, often go undetected and are therefore left off the bottom line. Disaster response and related humanitarian aid absorb significant resources that could otherwise be devoted to development efforts. But the most interesting conclusion that emerged from the meeting was this: Vulnerability to disasters is a function of human behaviour.
It is this conviction
that explains the existence of one of INDECIs three major divisions:
the National Education and Training Directorate, which strives to modify
human conduct through education and training carefully designed to meet
the real needs of the population.
INDECI was established by decree as part of the National Civil Defence System (SINADECI). Article 2 of Decree 19338 says that one of the objectives of the System is raising awareness concerning civil Defence and the role of citizens. Article 3 goes on to state that the population must be instructed in its responsibilities in the event of disasters and other emergencies. Another decree set out the responsibilities of the various components of SINADECI, and mandated Civil Defence Committees, in their respective jurisdictions, to guide and promote citizen training in order to mitigate the consequences of natural disasters.
Based on this legal framework, the National Education and Training Directorate is the government department in charge of planning, organizing, coordinating and supervising the training components of the National Civil Defence Policy, including the training of SINADECI member institutions, and is ultimately responsible for promoting a culture of prevention among the more that 24 million inhabitants of Peru.
The Directorates mission, accordingly, is to generate as well as disseminate knowledge about disaster reduction through the analysis and discussion of adverse events that have taken place or are likely to occur, so as to raise the awareness of the citizenry concerning risks and vulnerabilities.
Three lines of action guide the Directorate:
Based on these strategic guidelines, five training modules have been developed and implemented for the following audiences: (1) SINADECI officials, (2) teachers, (3) technical civil Defence inspectors, (4) media workers, and (5) relief and rescue workers.
Regional, multidisciplinary training groups work in a decentralized fashion through Regional Civil Defence Directorates that are scattered throughout the Peruvian territory. Inter-institutional cooperation involves organizations such as the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)s SUMA emergency supply management initiative, and the Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (OFDA/USAID).
Initiatives still in the planning stages include training courses in collaboration with the above-mentioned agencies, the launching of a transnational course for officials working on both sides of the border with Ecuador, and the reinforcement of joint training initiatives involving non-governmental organizations such as the Peruvian Red Cross, CARE Peru, and Caritas.
In 2000, 45 courses were held throughout the country. In 2001, the figure rose to 249 after the Regional Training Groups began to operate in August. This year, the goal is to double that amount. At least 521 courses will be held, 147 of which will be aimed at teachers, 145 at SINADECI authorities, 119 at relief workers, 57 at media workers and 53 at Civil Defence inspectors.
Beneficiaries will include 5,880 teachers, 4,760 relief workers, 4,350 SINADECI officials, 1,908 civil Defence inspectors, and 1,710 media workers, providing training to a total of 18,608 individuals.
The courses will be geographically distributed as follows:
For more information