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What is Emergency Preparedness?

Emergency preparedness is the knowledge and capacity developed by governments, recovery organizations, communities and individuals to anticipate, respond to and recover from the impact of potential, imminent or current hazard events, or emergency situations that call for a humanitarian response.

Emergency preparedness requires long-term, comprehensive engagement in the framework of disaster risk reduction (DRR). DRR activities include strengthening early warning and preparedness, and mobilizing and coordinating international disaster assistance. Priority Five of the Hyogo Framework for Action highlights the essential role of disaster preparedness in saving lives and livelihoods, particularly when integrated into an overall DRR approach.

Many highly vulnerable settings are at risk of disaster and conflict. It is a major challenge for the humanitarian community to avoid risk situations, such as establishing refugee and IDP camps in disaster-prone flood plains, or being aware of possible causes of local conflicts such as water scarcity.

The need for adequate emergency preparedness systems, and the importance of applying a multi-hazard approach, will continue to grow as global threats such as urbanization, food insecurity and climate change become increasingly important drivers of humanitarian need.

The value of OCHA’s preparedness work is demonstrated by understanding the link to positive response outcomes – the elements that are essential for well-coordinated, quick and effective response operations.