Practical experience of the National Societies, supported by research, provides strong evidence that relief should take into account the long-term implications of emergency assistance on rehabilitation, recovery and development. On the other hand, development planning must identify disaster risks. If these mutually complementary approaches are not used, then opportunities to reduce or mitigate the impact of disasters on communities and to strengthen National Societies’ disaster preparedness capacities are lost. Aid programming which restores the pre-disaster status quo may inadvertently perpetuate vulnerability. There is a clear need to look for ways to integrate relief, rehabilitation and development.

The International Federation is an important actor in the response to and rehabilitation after natural disasters. The Federation is also frequently involved in rehabilitation or recovery following armed conflict. Each type of disaster whether droughts, floods, earthquakes, civil disturbances, industrial accidents or other offers different opportunities to link and integrate response, rehabilitation and development. Interaction of relief, rehabilitation and development requires an analysis of the broader political, social and economic context. In structural crises for instance, the response to immediate needs has to appreciate the risk of creating social or economic distortions. In a protracted disaster there may be a need to rehabilitate the livelihoods of households and communities also during the ongoing emergency. Root causes need to be identified and exposed. The most important element to ensure that both short-term and longer-term needs are addressed is to support the capacity of the National Society to work with vulnerable communities.

Download: Integrating relief, rehabilitation and development

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Document data

National Societies
Advocacy, Disaster management
Document type
Policy document