Two Months later on the 26th of November,our team returned to the settlement community hall to present the data, recap on definitions of disasters, risks and capacity, and ultimately to empower the community to draw up a disaster management plan.
After almost eight hours of discussions and group tasks, we left the community having put together the first draft of a management plan that has been drawn up for the community by the community to address the specific issues related to the specific location, vulnerabilities, and available capacities in Maqalevu Settlement. This process has proved to both the settlement members and the facilitators that an organised community centred approach to Risk Reduction has huge benefits Firstly, the community was able to, as a group, share best practice and put forward simple solutions to response and prevention. Secondly, the exercise ensured that there were clear goals for the community to work towards together. Thirdly, the specific outside support and expertise that is required to ensure the safety of this community was clarified and can now be directed to the government and relevant agencies. We now have a huge amount of data on Maqalevu, the challenges the area faces in disasters, and information on the way the village has responded.
Looking through the hand drawn risk maps, brainstorming notes, and group created charts on solutions to food shortages, water contamination, flood house prep, etc, I was really impressed by the information that had come to the surface and it was clear that the community had many of the answers. It also became clear that there were specific factors and problems that led to this settlement's vulnerability to disasters and the Red Cross team was confident that this exercise and the resulting data could now be used to better inform the next steps taken by both the local community and the government towards reducing the risks that Maqalevu faces during disasters.