Document / Publication
Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at Local Level (APELL)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
United Nations Environment Programme - Headquarters (UNEP)
In recent years many earthquakes such as those pictured opposite have caused widespread loss of life and destruction of property, and have caused devastation for people and damage to the environment. Earthquakes have always occurred and they always will, but the patterns of modern life are exposing more communities to danger then ever before. At no time in history have so many people lived in cities, often with little controlled planning, that are so close to seismic areas. Disasters will, unfortunately, occur, and the mitigation of their impacts—linked with efforts to alleviate poverty—is undoubtedly one of today's major global challenges.
Disaster inevitably leads to crisis and, once a crisis situation is established, it is the degree to which people are prepared for disaster that determines how vulnerable or resilient their community will be. Experience throughout the world has shown, time and again, that it is local people who are best placed to prepare for and respond to disasters, including earthquakes.