Incorporating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Sustainable Livelihoods

Floods, typhoons, and other extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and intensity due to climate change and the deterioration of natural environments. These hazards can turn into disasters which have devastating impacts on at-risk communities especially those whose livelihoods are dependent on natural resources like those in the agriculture and fisheries sector (FAO, 2011).

The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR, 2017) defines disaster as “a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society at any scale due to hazardous events interacting with conditions of exposure, vulnerability and capacity, leading to one or more of the following: human, material, economic and environmental losses and impacts.”

Correspondingly, CARE determined that disaster risk depends on the likelihood and severity of the hazard, vulnerability of people and assets, and the capacity of individuals and communities (Figure 1) (Dulce et al., 2020). Disasters can reduce a community’s capabilities and assets to maintain their livelihoods by destroying their physical, human, financial, natural, and social capital. They often cause destruction of infrastructure, such as roads, irrigation facilities, and docks, that negatively affect economic activities. This is often exacerbated in poor communities where cheap and less durable construction materials, like recycled wood or corrugated galvanized iron sheets (yero), are used. Disasters also lead to decreased human capital through death, injury, and disease. (Jacobsen et al., 2011)

However, it is important to understand that not all hazards result in disaster. Hazards turn into disasters when:

  1. It affects the majority of a community’s population.
  2. It affects a vulnerable community and disrupts their daily activities and livelihoods.
  3. A community does not have enough capacity to recover on its own and requires external aid. (Dulce et al., 2020)


Research brief 2 Incorporating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Sustainable Livelihoods