Author: Yasmeen Khair Shorouq Aburazzouq Huong Hoang

United for resilience: Mercy Corps’ collaboration with the Civil Defense Directorate in Jordan

Source(s): Flood Resilience Portal
Women's empowerment programme in Jordan
UN Women/flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Today is World Civil Defense Day, honouring the dedication and efforts of civil defense organizations and their partners in protecting people, homes and businesses from disasters and emergencies. 

Mercy Corps’ work in Jordan, where climate hazards pose a serious threat, shows how partnerships with civil defense actors can improve community resilience.

Despite being a water-scarce country, flash flooding is a major concern for people in Jordan. Their increasing frequency and intensity, combined with other climate-related hazards such as heatwaves, has caused significant damage and loss of life, and is affecting agricultural lands and livelihoods. 

As a member of the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance, Mercy Corps in Jordan is working closely with local governments and flood-prone communities in Ma’in, Wadi Musa, Sweimeh, and Azraq to support the resilience of vulnerable communities so that they can adapt to climate change.  

Joint action to inform and protect communities 

Collaborating with key actors to ensure successful and impactful programming is central to Mercy Corps’ approach. When the Alliance’s programme in Jordan began in 2021 with a focus on Disaster Risk Reduction, we worked on cultivating national-level partnerships. We approached the disaster management department in the Civil Defense Directorate (CDD) to align expertise, resources, and efforts. The CDD became a vital strategic partner, offering unwavering support on both national and local fronts. 

Working hand in hand with flood-prone communities, we established local committees, comprising of leaders and representatives from local authorities, to identify flood resilience gaps and collaboratively design and implement suitable interventions. Involving officials from the CDD in these committees played a key role in this successful partnership; their insights as first responders, and their experiences and challenges faced during disaster response, enriched our understanding and guided our interventions.

Mercy Corps and the CDD have also worked together on the interventions themselves. By providing targeted awareness sessions on first aid, safety procedures, and evacuation plans, as well as essential resources such as first aid kits, the partnership has equipped communities and school students in flood-prone areas with the knowledge, skills and tools needed for disaster preparedness and response as well as fostering a culture of safety and preparedness. Session participants reported feeling more prepared to confront potential disasters in their communities.    

Attending the first aid training has been a very positive experience for me, it has given me a sense of confidence and preparedness, knowing that I have the knowledge to help others in times of need. Knowledge of first aid and preparedness measures is crucial for all municipal employees to enhance our capabilities to deal efficiently with disasters that may affect our community.

Wafa’a Al-Adwan- Head of Development Unit in Sweimeh Municipality.

A recent milestone in this partnership was the development of a guidebook titled “Dealing with Emergencies: Preparedness and Prevention Measures“. This essential resource equips community members with the knowledge and tools needed to safeguard their lives from emergencies. From helpful tips on how to prepare before a disaster strikes, to crucial steps to take during and after an emergency, this guidebook is tailored for various types of disaster, including fires, floods and earthquakes. Through our collaboration with CDD, we were able to distribute 30,000 copies of this invaluable resource to high-risk areas throughout Jordan.

Reflecting on success and planning for the future 

World Civil Defense Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the essential work and invaluable contributions of the CDD and its partners in building climate resilience and ensuring the safety and well-being of communities in Jordan. Collaboration between the public sector and organizations like Mercy Corps is a vital part of enhancing preparedness for disaster events in ways that are well-informed, comprehensive and effective.

On 3rd March in Amman, Mercy Corps and the Civil Defense Directorate will commemorate World Civil Defense Day with various stakeholders and partners, and highlight the benefits of collaboration in enhancing climate resilience.

The partnership continues; here in Jordan, we are committed to building on the achievements and inform an effective policy environment that strengthens community resilience to climate hazards. 

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Hazards Flood
Country and region Jordan
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