Humanitarian aid is distributed in the Dominican Republic following Tropical Storm Noel. Photo Credit: Juan Torres-Diaz

Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster risk reduction encompasses efforts to prevent or mitigate damage inflicted by earthquakes, floods, droughts, and storms.

In 2014, 324 natural disasters took the lives of more than 7,800 people, affecting 140 million others, and causing $99 billion in economic damages. The impact of future disasters is likely to be even more devastating. Disasters are expected to become more frequent in the future and to take a greater toll due to climate change, a growing world population, and more people settling in hazard-prone areas. With each disaster, development gains may be lost as infrastructure is destroyed, poverty increases, and economic opportunities and livelihoods are interrupted or lost.

Investments in disaster risk reduction save lives, not just after the disaster occurs, but even as disaster strikes. Since 1989, USAID has supported disaster risk reduction efforts in 130 countries. USAID has developed a strategic approach to disaster risk reduction to better guide its programming in the years ahead. USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance’s (OFDA) Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy outlines the three broad areas in which USAID, through OFDA, works to reduce disaster risk: prioritizing and strengthening early warning, preparedness, mitigation, and prevention; integrating preparedness and mitigation with disaster response, early recovery, and transition to foster resilience; and supporting diversified, resilient livelihood strategies

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