Get going! Draw a Risk Map of your community

communityWith the help of your teacher, find out what these words mean: disaster, risk, and vulnerability. (Hint: you can find them in the Glossary on page 22 and 23. Even better, try) to remember what you have read so far!

Look up in books or in old papers, or ask elders in your community, what important disasters have occurred in the past. Pinpoint the places that could be affected by floods, earthquakes, storms, landslides or volcanic eruptions. These are some of the questions you could ask:

What disasters have taken place in this area? What happened? When?
What did people do?
What should be done to prevent a disaster happening in the future? ¿Which people and institutions in the community can help?

Draw the most important buildings: school, town hall, hospital, fire station, police station and houses. Also draw buildings that could be dangerous, such as factories, dams, or electricity generating plants as well as buildings that are in a weak state of repair. Draw a different symbol for each kind of building. Identify all the roads, rivers, electricity lines, water supply and sewage systems and waste dumps. Use a different color to show each of these areas.

Show how badly the buildings could be affected (a little, quite a lot, totally wiped out) and use a different symbol or color depending on the level of risk and the type of risk, for instance flood areas or landslide areas. Identify where the people who will need the most help in the event of a disaster live: schools, homes for the elderly, hospitals and nursery schools.

Discuss different possible solutions for reducing the risks and preventing disasters in your community. Share with your classmates and teacher what the people in the neighbourhoods you have visited have told you. What measures could your community take to make people safer? Which people in your community could help you?

Ask your teacher to invite different members of your community to your school, such as the mayor, fire fighters, police officers, a leader from the local emergency committee, journalists, doctors, meteorologists and social workers. Talk with them about what you have seen and share with them your ideas about what could be done to prevent a disaster happening in the future.