COPING WITH NATURAL DISASTERS: THE ROLE OF LOCAL HEALTH PERSONNEL AND THE COMMUNITY
( By A Working Guide (WHO - OMS, 1989) )

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Annex 6. Community risk maps

Risk maps drawn up by the community and local health personnel are not professional cartographic productions. They serve rather to underpin the community activity of discussing and assessing the risks.

The essential point in drawing up risk maps is precisely the work of community education and preparation on which they are based. It is during meetings to compile risk maps that it is possible to tackle the subject of the kinds of preventive action to take in each particular situation in the event of disaster.

Thus, as each risk is catalogued in the course of these meetings indications can be given on how to reduce it. Examples are the strengthening of flimsy dwellings, sanitation, the listing of places of refuge in the event of floods, etc.

It is useful to encourage the establishment of a group of volunteers ready to work more intensively with the local health personnel. In the event of a disaster, this group, which will have taken part in drawing up the risk map, can help to monitor the situation at all the points at risk. This will give a rapid idea of what has happened on the basis of the points considered to be most exposed to risk, so that relief priorities can be organized in the most effective way. If the area to be covered has been shared out beforehand, the damage and the requirements can be assessed more easily and quickly.


Figure


Risks to buildings


Other risks


District risk map prepared by schoolchildren (1986)

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