Hazards can affect communities adversely and destroy developmental gains in a matter of minutes. The 2015 Nepal earthquake which devastated Nepal and led to the death of more than 9000 people is one such example. A large number of people were separated from their families or were not able to reach to them immediately after the disaster had struck. Similarly, the recent Chennai and Kerala floods showed the world the damaging effects that hazards can have on the life of individuals and families. Numbers of people were not able to connect to their family in the aftermath of the rains and were stuck for days without any information about their loved ones.
After such disasters, it has been observed that not just an individual but the family as a collective is affected. Families suffer more when they are not able to get together or in case of loss of any family member. In a post-disaster scenario, such issues are very common and are known to have caused severe psychological trauma on the life of individual members.
Community-based disaster preparedness is very effective in rural areas, but in urban settings where a feeling of ‘the community’ is absent, it is near impossible to initiate community preparedness. The best way to initiate preparedness in urban settings will be to encourage families to get prepared on their own. Many countries have been encouraging family preparedness and preparing the family for any unforeseen events. There are numerous guidelines, for example, family preparedness guidelines by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Red Cross Society, etc. which are shared with people and they are encouraged to participate in such activities. In a country like India with a population of more than 1 billion, it has been observed that post-disaster, families have to go through additional trauma and many times are not able to cope with it without external support.
GHS has prepared a document that you can download and use to prepare your families for various hazards.