Photo: Tineke D'Haese/Oxfam

Lao communities improve natural disaster preparedness and response

Natural disasters happen in Laos, especially during the monsoon. Damages caused by flooding and landslides can be devastating for vulnerable communities. In partnership with the National Disaster Management Office, Oxfam strengthens vulnerable communities to improve their disaster preparedness and strengthen institutional disaster management systems.

Oxfam’s strategy aims at improving capacities at the local level so that local actors are able to address the needs of vulnerable communities in the longer term. Thanks to better preparedness and mitigation measures, communities of Laos are able to face natural disasters with less fear of the impacts. In the longer term, these activities aim at improving communities’ food security and people’s livelihoods.

Training in rescue and emergency response

More than 8,000 people in Vientiane province have already been trained to take effective action in case flooding occurs. In particular, community volunteers are trained in rescue and emergency response measures if flooding occurs. They are supplied with necessary equipment, including rescue boats, water pumps, generators, early warning systems megaphones, life jacket and first aid kits. Women in the communities are fully involved and take part in the trainings.

Effective disaster preparedness committees set up at village level and district level

Thanks to better preparedness and mitigation measures, communities of Laos are able to face natural disasters with less fear of the impacts. In the longer term, these activities aim at improving communities’ food security and people’s livelihoods.

Staff from the provincial and district disaster management committees and villagers were given training to formulate more effective disaster preparedness and response plans to make sure village leaders know what to do before, during and after flooding and landslides. At district level, the Disaster Management Structure has also been reinforced.

Resilient communities

Communities take also mitigation measures, particularly in relation to food security and the storage of seed in places safe from floods. Mr. Khonesavanth Saysompheng from the National Disaster Management Office said these kinds of activities improve disaster preparedness and build more resilient communities. “Disaster preparedness committees are set up in the villages, and communities are more aware of risks and vulnerabilities during times of flooding”.

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