Supporting women and vulnerable groups in disaster risks

October 12, 2023
Photo by Kamyar Minoukadeh

برای خواندن این متن به فارسی، اینجا کلیک کنید

Disaster Risk Reduction is an integral part of sustainable development.  As part of its global efforts, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), supports disaster-prone countries by connecting them to knowledge, technical advisory services and developing practical tools to build a better life for people including through anticipation of risks and risked informed planning.  

Iran is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, hence managing disaster risks and strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable groups is considered vital. UNDP supports the country’s efforts via mobilizing national and international resources developing practical tools and services to prevent and respond to disasters and mitigate disaster risks. 

Appropriate shelter is a recurring priority for Iran, a very large country with different climates and cultural settings. How to respond to the population needs after a disaster? One single solution such as tents does not work beyond a few days. To re-activate villages local communities and economies the issue of shelter is crucial.

In line with the resilience workstream of the UN Technical Assistance Package (TAP) aimed at promoting resilience to economic and disaster-related shocks, UNDP has been supporting the design of transitional shelter standards based on national and international best practices. In this connection, the existing standards for temporary shelter were reviewed and the relevant experiences were evaluated to identify and further prototype the most appropriate design compatible with the local climate, physical context, the socioeconomic and cultural characteristics.

The result of evaluation has indicated that the appropriate structure and site selection are essential in planning and designing of temporary shelter. As the next step, the criteria and minimum requirement for structure and site selection were identified based on the existing standards and adapted according to the local contexts of the country and cultural and environmental features. Moreover, different scenarios were presented based on different parameters. 

We hope that soon we can contribute to the design of the rapid deployment of a new generation of shelter solutions to respond appropriately to different setting and different disasters.

Although the impact of disasters on people varies from loss of life and livelihood to the destruction of homes, the most vulnerable groups are mainly the worst affected ones who are least able to withstand and recover from shocks. This highlights the necessity of strengthening the resilience of communities for better preparedness and protection. 
Preparedness is key, proven to reduce the impact on life and costs of any disaster. UNDP has supported awareness rising of women and vulnerable groups on disaster preparedness and response through conducting two series of workshops in different cities of Lorestan province covering 262 participants including 65 women and girls, 9 persons with disabilities, and 188 representatives from the local NGOs, National Disaster Management Organization and relief agencies and relevant authorities from local governments and municipalities.

The main objective of these workshops was to promote preparedness culture and awareness raising on the roles and responsibilities of different groups before and after the occurrence of disasters. The “tailor-made training” material enhanced the knowledge of local participants on subjects including but not limited to types of natural hazards in Lorestan province, techniques for setting up tent and emergency evacuation, methods of preparing hazard maps at the place of living, methods of establishing community-based disaster management organizations (CBDRM), addressing special needs of vulnerable groups as well as psychosocial distress.

Moreover, during these sessions, participants received first aid and fire equipment trainings from the experts for better disaster preparedness and response by and for the citizens of the target area.

UNDP is the United Nations’ lead agency on sustainable human development. Having pioneered the concept more than 30 years ago and given its long-term presence and cooperation in the vast global development network, UNDP is uniquely positioned for assisting countries to achieve sustainable development objectives. The organization supports the Government in its efforts to reduce vulnerability and exposure to disasters and raise awareness about the urgency of lowering the dangers faced.