When a disaster takes place, the characteristics of Diakonia's work change. In a primary phase, the goal is to save lives. Then comes the reconstruction phase, which is gradually integrated into Diakonia's general work for development, human rights and democracy.
Disaster relief only in areas where we already work
In order to succeed with an effective disaster relief, knowledge of the area is essential. That is why we only intermediate relief through already existing partners that have capacity to work with this. Our partners know what is needed and they lead the work together with the people affected by the disaster.
Women and children important
Diakonia has a gender equality aspect integrated in all its work, so also in disaster relief. When disasters take place, normally women and children are the most affected, since they are the groups most depending on others for income etc. That is why it is important to have certain consideration for their situation and needs.
Also, women are important actors for change. When a disaster strike, we see many examples of how women organise themselves both for saving lives and reconstruction.
The emergency phase
The first period after a disaster, Diakonia can provide food, clothing, mosquito nets, medicines and sheltering.
Gifts from Swedish individuals, associations and congregations are of great importance. They enable Diakonia to continue to support the affected people after the first emergency phase.
Often, Diakonia seeks assistance from other donors such as the Swedish Radio Assistance. We also seek cooperation within the ACT alliance, in order to make our efforts as effective as possible.
As always, our work is a long-term commitment. After the first critical phase, Diakonia and our partner organisations continue working with the people affected by the disaster. Their involvement in the reconstruction is important. The reconstruction phase normally consists of creating new incomes, building houses and organising schools, among a lot of other projects.
The reconstruction phase is gradually integrated with the general development work that Diakonia carries out in the area.
Fighting poverty to prevent disasters
Many of the disasters we see in the world are created by human beings. Diakonia fights to prevent disasters in many ways. One is our long term development work on local and regional level. By supporting people so that they themselves can find a way out of poverty and injustice, we also make them more prepared for future disasters.
Another important part of preventing disasters is Diakonia's global advocacy work, where we strive to change political and financial structures that prevent individuals and countries to leave their poverty behind. Examples of this is our work on illegitemate debt, capital flight and the fight for climate justice.