Overcoming Barriers to Proactive Response in Slow-onset Disasters
By focusing on six traits, or lessons associated with slow-onset disasters, this background paper sets out to elaborate on the unique challenges posed by slow-onset disasters with implications for disaster risk reduction (DRR) work. This paper summarizes these traits as:
- Early warning technologies do not necessarily secure proactive response to slow-onset disasters due to political and practical obstacles in the way of timely action.
- Generic all-hazards DRR strategies, while best practice in the context of sudden-onset disasters, are generally inappropriate for the management of slow-onset disasters.
- Slow-onset disasters often fall outside the mandate of specialized disaster management agencies.
- The geographically dispersed nature of slow-onset disaster impacts reduces their perceived severity and political salience.
- The concept of disaster is often equated with sudden-onset disasters.
- The vast majority of disaster research and theory revolves around sudden-onset disasters, generally the largest and most destructive historical events.
Addressing these obstacles head on as the SFDRR process matures will enable both better prescriptive policy recommendations, as well as research that is more sensitive to the different demands introduced by slow-onset disasters.
Link to the project: https://gar.unisdr.org/.