The Power in Planning

Updated: Sep 29


India and Bangladesh are recovering from an early-season super cyclone, Haiti and the Dominican Republic are bracing for an above-normal hurricane season, and the monsoon is ramping up in Southeast Asia. This year, every new crisis is compounded because of the pandemic.

“The greatest concern in my community is how other threats can be addressed if the city is at the peak of its capacity to respond to COVID-19.” -Delka Espinal, GHI Dominican Republic Representative

Torrential rains this week in Aizawl, India downed a house, trees and power lines, thankfully without casualties. The pandemic complicates response. Photo: Zuangtui community, Aizawl

Disaster managers are rethinking preparedness and response: How to safely move masses of people or aid? How to shelter evacuees with social distancing? How to treat a surge of injured people as well as pandemic patients? How to protect responders from the virus?

This storm season, communities with fragile socioeconomic conditions will face greater challenges than in other years. For example, respiratory illnesses common during any rainy season will increase the likelihood of COVID-19 complications and demands on burdened health systems.

One way to address such complex challenges is to identify issues in advance. We often develop scenarios of plausible disasters, to show in plain language what could happen and what is preventable.

Our scenario process brings people together to identify risks and devise solutions. With insights from different perspectives, communities can put scarce resources to best use.

“A scenario that envisions a potential disaster or concurrent events—and what can be done now to reduce the impacts to people and to society—brings risk problems, resilience challenges and potential solutions into focus.” -Janise Rodgers, Ph.D., GHI COO

Here’s the take-away: there’s power in planning, mundane as that seems. Science-based scenarios aim to harness that power. For recent examples, see our scenarios for: westernmost Nepal, Shaanxi Province, China, and Aizawl, India.

Our 2016 Aizawl, India scenario identified high landslide risk in this area, which the government subsequently made a no new development zone. A recent landslide proved the safety benefit. Photo: Zuangtui community, Aizawl

Your support enables steady progress. With local partners, we’re empowering communities to envision what the future may look like and create a safer path forward.

Best wishes to you,

Veronica Cedillos, President & CEO

The GeoHazards International team

Haiti · Dominican Republic · India · Bhutan · Nepal · U.S.A.

For their support of the WeCare2020 challenge, a huge thank you to our board members and these corporate sponsors:

#COVID19 #ExtremeWeather #DisasterPrevention