( By Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) )

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2.1 Basic country profile


A country profile enables the team to become familiar with the general characteristics of the country in which the assessment will take place. Information should be made available to team members prior to their country visit.

If a disaster profile is not easily available, especially in less developed countries, basic information must be gathered in order to:

Identify the most frequent natural, technological, and man-made disasters;
Determine the vulnerability of the population;
Determine the existing resources.

Checklist of basic indicators:

Data collection on major past disasters
Distribution of population in high-risk areas (mapping for natural and technological disasters)
Land use and settlements
Community involvement in disaster preparedness and response

Key questions:

Which institutions are in charge of collecting information on past disasters? Where are they located? What information is available?

Are there laws or regulations regarding human settlements in risk areas? Which institutions are involved?

How effective is community participation in disaster preparedness and response? How are communities organized in the most vulnerable areas?

Sources of information:

Civil Defense or National Emergency Committee, Ministry of Agriculture, meteorological agencies, Ministry of Housing, and others.

Summary of findings:

A brief summary should reflect an analysis of the findings and special attention should be paid to the extent of vulnerability and of the potential population at risk.

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