Glossary of terms
Glossary of terms used in the project
The glossary of terms is based on definitions found within the past European Commission funded project reports, the International Federation of the Red Cross / Red Crescent, the United Nations and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. Capacity
A combination of all the strengths and resources available within a community, society or organisation that can reduce the level of risk, or the effects of a disaster.
Capacity may include physical, institutional, social or economic means as well as skilled personal or collective attributes such as leadership and management. Capacity may also be described as capability. Capacity building
Efforts aimed to develop human skills or societal infrastructures within a community or organisation needed to reduce the level of risk. In extended understanding, capacity building also includes development of institutional, financial, political and other resources, such as technology at different levels and sectors of the society. Citizen
A citizen is a person who is a member of the community in which they live or work. They are a citizen, whether or not they are a native or naturalised member of the state or nation in which they live or work. Civil protection
Civil protection is a broad term that covers the activities undertaken by the state and organisations both to protect and prepare the population from natural and person-made risks and disasters and prepare an effective and co-ordinated response to an emergency or disaster. Community
A community is a group of people from an area or country considered collectively who:
· live together
· work together
· have a common culture, religion, race, ethnic or national origin, or
· hold shared attitudes and interests. Coping capacity
The means by which people or organisations use available resources and abilities to face adverse consequences that could lead to a disaster. In general, this involves managing resources, both in normal times as well as during crises or adverse conditions. The strengthening of coping capacities usually builds resilience to withstand the effects of natural and human-induced hazards. Disaster
A disaster is a situation that threatens and causes serious and widespread damage to human welfare and the environment. It generally involved the destruction of property, injury, and loss of life; adversely affects a relatively; large group of people; is ‘public’ and can cause distress in the wider community.
Natural disasters are caused by natural forces, and include such events as an earthquake, flooding, forest fires and volcanic eruption; whereas person-made disasters are technological, chemical or nuclear disasters, and may result from human negligence, error or a failure in a system. Disaster response
A sum of decisions and actions taken during and after disaster, including immediate relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.Disaster risk reduction and preparedness
Activities undertaken to reduce the vulnerability and impact on an individual, community or society and improving their ability to cope with the effects of an emergency or disaster. Emergency
A sudden and usually unforeseen event that calls for immediate measures to minimise its adverse consequences. First aid
The immediate but temporary care given on site or as soon as possible to the victims of an accident or sudden illness in order to seek to avert complications, lessen suffering, and sustain life until competent services or a physician can be obtained. Emergency management
The organisation and management of resources and responsibilities for dealing with all aspects of emergencies, in particularly preparedness, response and rehabilitation. Emergency management involves plans, structures and arrangements established to engage the normal endeavours of government, voluntary and private agencies in a comprehensive and coordinated way to respond to the whole spectrum of emergency needs. This is also known as disaster management. Hazard
A potentially damaging physical event, phenomenon or human activity that may cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation.Human aspects approach
The human aspect approach refers to information and activities aimed at building citizen, community and organisational resilience, in order to meet the needs of people affected by emergencies and disasters.
As with all emergencies and their management, the human aspects response takes place in a social, cultural and political context; those planning and implementing any such response should be aware of and take this into account. Individuals who may be affected by an emergency or disaster
- casualties (fatal, serious, slight)
- survivors (involved but not injured)
- evacuees (residents, passengers, employees)
- relatives and friends (home, work, hospitals, mortuaries, centres)
- emergency services
- others responding.
Measures taken in advance of a disaster aimed at reducing or eliminating its impact on society and environment. Preparedness
Activities and measures taken in advance to ensure effective response to the impact of hazards, including the provision of timely and effective early warnings and the temporary evacuation of people and property from threatened locations. Prevention
Encompasses activities designed to provide permanent protection from disasters. It includes engineering and other physical protective measures, and legislative measures controlling land use and urban planning. Public information and awareness
The process of informing and raising awareness of the community as to the nature of the hazard and actions needed to save lives and property prior to, and in the event of, disaster.Non-governmental organisation
A non-governmental organisation (NGO) is a non-profit, private organisation that pursues activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development. NGOs are typically value based organisations which depend, in whole or in part, on charitable donations and voluntary service. Psycho-social needs
Psycho-social needs are the emotional, medical, practical, psychological and social needs of individuals affected by an emergency or disaster. Such needs may arise in the initial response phase and may persist for a longer time-scale. Psycho-social support
Psycho-social support ranges from the practical, emotional, social and psychological support that individuals may need when affected in an emergency or disaster. Services and activities to meet psycho-social needs are generally provided during the initial emergency response but the need for such support may extend into the medium or longer term. Public information
Information, facts and knowledge provided or learned as a result of research or study, available to be disseminated to the public. Recovery
Recovery refers to the co-ordinated process of supporting emergency or disaster-affected communities in reconstruction of the physical infrastructure and restoration of emotional, social, economic and physical well-being. Rehabilitation
The operations and decisions taken after a disaster with a view to restoring a stricken community to its former living conditions, whilst encouraging and facilitating the necessary adjustments to the changes caused by the disaster. Relief
Assistance and/or intervention during or after disaster to meet the life preservation and basic subsistence needs. It can be of emergency or protracted duration. Resilience
Resilience is defined as the ability of an individual, community or country potentially exposed to hazards to cope with and to ‘bounce back’ from the effects of adversity. The expression used in the project is ‘bounce-back ability’. It is a process of adaptation, and also a set of skills, capacities, behaviours and actions that can be developed in each individual. Risk
The probability of harmful consequences, or expected losses (deaths, injuries, property, livelihoods, economic activity disrupted or environment damaged) resulting from interactions between natural or human-induced hazards and vulnerable conditions.
Conventionally risk is expressed by the notation Risk = Hazards x Vulnerability. Some disciplines also include the concept of exposure to refer particularly to the physical aspects of vulnerability.
Beyond expressing a possibility of physical harm, it is crucial to recognise that risks are inherent or can be created or exist within social systems. It is important to consider the social contexts in which risks occur and that people therefore do not necessarily share the same perceptions of risk and their underlying causes. Risk assessment
A methodology to determine the nature and extent of risk by analysing potential hazards and evaluating existing conditions of vulnerability that could pose a potential threat or harm to people, property, livelihoods and the environment on which they depend. Volunteer
An individual who provides non-profit, non-wage and non-career action for the well being of their neighbours, community or society at large. Vulnerability
The conditions determined by physical, social, economic, and environmental factors or processes, which increase the susceptibility of a community to the impact of hazards.
For positive factors, which increase the ability of people to cope with hazards, see definition of capacity.