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Disaster risk reduction

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Climate change causes extreme weather events to happen more often. These can lead to disasters. Poor countries are hit especially hard. The Swiss Red Cross (SRC) is stepping up its commitment to help the most vulnerable people to better protect themselves and prepare for disasters.


Climate change is making disasters worse

Flooding, landslides, drought, hurricanes and other extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more destructive as a result of climate change.
As many as 97% of the deaths from disasters are in developing countries. Every year, more than 200 million people's livelihoods are threatened.

The poorest are the hardest hit

People living in poverty often live in badly constructed housing and in high-risk areas because they cannot afford to move elsewhere. They are also unable to prepare themselves for danger. When disaster strikes, they lose their livelihoods. Even their health suffers. In most cases, they have no insurance or savings.

Disasters hinder development

Countries and regions at highest risk are often so overwhelmed by managing disasters that they are unable to advance their development and fight poverty.

Our goal

We aim to better protect people living in high-risk areas. We increase their resilience to the elements. Especially when natural hazards are recurrent, people need to be properly prepared and know how to react and protect themselves.

The SRC is working on disaster preparedness in several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. And by doing so, we are supporting the SDGs ‘Zero poverty’, ‘Sustainable cities and communities’, and ‘Climate action’.


UN global goals

What we do

Prevention is better than cure. Natural disasters cause less damage and suffering if people have the resources and knowledge to prepare for them. This is where the SRC’s three-step disaster preparedness comes in.

Risk analysis

In partnership with local communities, the Red Cross identifies natural hazards and risks that threaten human lives. Communities draw up their own hazard maps to show which areas of their region are in danger and which ones are safe. Then escape routes and safe places are marked out.


Preventing economic damage

The financial losses from disasters amount to more than CHF 250 billion a year worldwide. Every franc invested in disaster preparedness is saved many times over by limiting damage.

Reducing risks

The SRC builds flood- and storm-resistant infrastructure. Resistant water supply systems, health centres and community centres ensure that future disasters are less damaging. Building earthquake-resistant houses and stabilizing sloping land also helps to make communities safer.

Educating communities

The SRC helps to educate communities through schools. Pupils know the meaning of disaster preparedness and adapting to climate change. The SRC also teaches about health and hygiene. Communities that have a healthy diet and live in hygienic conditions are more likely to resist hardship.

Disaster preparedness

The SRC helps set up village committees in high-risk communities and connects them with the public authorities.
Being prepared for future disasters also means having local response teams in place for first aid and rescue operations. These teams are given the training they need. Their role is to draw up emergency and evacuation plans. They rehearse the emergency operation with the community and take charge if a disaster strikes.
Lives are saved when communities know what to do. The SRC also helps set up early warning systems that enable people to get to safety in time.

Insights into our projects

Where we help

The SRC supports disaster preparedness in 11 countries worldwide in partnership with other national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Many volunteers are involved in disaster preparedness. Dominique Gisin, CRS ambassador, is also committed to this cause.

Dominique Gisin with mother and child of the shepherd family in front of a yurt.
In Kyrgyzstan, I saw how effective simple stabilization measures can be. Disaster preparedness spares so many people suffering and anxiety.

Dominique Gisin, Olympic skiing champion and SRC ambassador

Our project countries

World map.The Swiss Red Cross project countries are highlighted in red. Here is the full list: Armenia, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Nepal, Togo.

Your support is needed

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