Extreme Weather Events & Preparing For Disasters Extreme Weather Events & Preparing For Disasters

We’re working to make communities more resilient to the significant challenges posed by climate change

We’re working to make communities more resilient to the significant challenges posed by climate change

Extreme Weather Events and Disaster Preparedness


Extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and scale

The risk of disasters and extreme weather events occurring in the Asia-Pacific region is growing and the impacts are expected to increase. It is estimated over 1 billion people worldwide live in informal settlements that are vulnerable to disasters.

The number of climate-related disasters such as floods and storms have been rising sharply. From 2000 to 2015, there were an average of 34 climate-related disasters each year.

Climate change magnifies the risk of disasters everywhere, particularly in those parts of the world where people are already poor and vulnerable and where extreme weather events tend to occur. Through our programming, we’re working to make communities more resilient to the significant challenges posed by climate change through our disaster preparedness programming. To help prevent future disasters, we’ve invested in community-based early warning systems and are helping farmers prepare for changing weather conditions by providing training in drought-resistant crops and adapted farming methods.

Fast Facts

  • Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer than any preceding decade since 1850.
  • Global emissions of carbon dioxide have increased by almost 50% since 1990.
  • While global demand continues to surge, renewable water resources are becoming scarcer.
  • After the Tropical Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu in 2015, violence against women and girls increased three times.

The Asia Pacific region is the most disaster prone region in the world

The Asia Pacific region is the most disaster prone region in the world, with a person living in the region almost twice as likely to be affected by a disaster as a person living in Africa, almost six times as likely compared with Latin America and the Caribbean, and 30 times more likely than a person living in North America or Europe (DFAT.gov).

In 2015 and again in 2016 the Pacific experienced two of the most severe cyclones on record – Tropical Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, and Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji.

Vietnam faced extreme flooding in late 2020 - tens of thousands of homes were lost.

What does CARE do to reduce the risk, and impact of disasters?

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) involves the training, tools & tactics put in place to reduce the risk, impact, and long-term consequences of a disaster or crisis. Whether it’s providing essentials like food, shelter and hygiene care, or other forms of support such as setting up and training Community Disaster and Climate Change Committees (CDCCCs) with local women in charge, facilitating emergency simulations, or providing and giving training in the use and maintenance of the emergency equipment.


For example, in the low-lying islands of Vanuatu, we are helping communities develop evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami or cyclone. This helps ensure communities are equipped to both respond to and survive emergencies, both now and in the future.

For many communities, this means building resilience against climate change. We’re working with local communities to reduce the impacts of climate change through activities such as adapted farming methods and growing drought-resistant crops.

We’re also helping communities to rebuild after disasters by building stronger homes in safer places, with access to sustainable livelihoods, health, and social services. This helps ensure the protection of communities from any dangers they may face while reducing future disaster risk.

What is disaster risk reduction? – A Definition

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), or disaster preparedness, refers to the actions we take before a crisis or disaster occurs to reduce the impact of such an event. DRR activities can include; investing in disaster-resilient infrastructure using traditional building methods, implementing measures to divert flood water, using drought-resilient crops or increasing water storage capacity in order to maintain water supply in times of drought, or developing early warning systems and evacuation plans for at-risk communities.

Two Ethiopian women plant crops as part of a risk mitigation strategy.

Tropical Cyclone Harold – A DRR Case Study

On April 6th, 2020, the category 5 severe TC Harold ripped across Vanuatu, tearing apart homes and gardens, impacting approximately 159,000 people, about half of Vanuatu’s population.

Pentecost was one of the locations that bore the brunt of TC Harold, damaging 90% of the homes, schools and other infrastructure, and causing significant damage to subsistence food gardens and kava cash crops (the main source of income on the island).

This was particularly dangerous for the South East corridor of the island, which is inaccessible by road, leaving emergency response teams with limited capacity to respond.

At the time TC Harold hit, Vanuatu’s economy was still recovering from the last devastating event, Cyclone Pam in 2015. For communities vulnerable to shocks, the impact of any emergency destroys hard-won gains in the fight against poverty.

Climate change is also increasing the frequency and severity of these monster storms, with devastating consequences for the Pacific islands and their people.

Buildings in Vanuatu destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Harold.

What did CARE do – before, during and after?

Prior to the cyclone

CARE supported the Government of Vanuatu to get information out to vulnerable communities, and worked with at-risk communities to develop early warning systems and evacuation plans, to keep their families safe.

Many women trained by CARE have become leaders in their communities and are driving disaster-preparedness measures to improve their country’s safety and strengthen their resilience to ongoing challenges like climate change.

During TC Harold

CARE delivered tarpaulins and emergency shelter kits to keep families, and particularly women and girls, safe. We put women and girls first by providing solar lights to improve physical safety, and hygiene and dignity kits including soap and menstrual hygiene items. In countries like Vanuatu, we help get life-saving information about the response directly to communities.

After emergencies

CARE helps people return to normalcy as quickly as possible with Kitchen Kits including pots, pans, utensils and other household essentials. We deliver Community toolkits to support clean up and remove dangerous debris. We provide tools for rebuilding homes and gardens, so that livelihoods can be restored as quickly as possible.

CARE supports building stronger homes in safer locations, and we respect traditional building methods and promote locally available materials. We train local people in emergency response and empower women to become leaders in this space. Local people will remain in the communities long after CARE has departed, and will be valuable assets in any future emergency work in the area.

CARE supports building stronger homes in safer locations after disasters, respecting traditional building methods.

Gender & emergencies

Women and girls are more likely to be killed by tropical cyclones and floods than men – and if they do survive, they face an increased risk of violence and attacks. But in times of crisis, women are also powerful change-makers.

When disaster strikes, they’re often the first responders, taking risks to put the safety of their family and neighbours first. That’s why CARE works directly with local women to lead their communities in times of disaster and beyond.

Women are powerful change-makers during emergencies.

Help us save lives before, during and after a disaster

When a disaster or emergency strikes, CARE is ready to help. Make a donation now to our Global Emergency Fund to support our emergency responses, or make a monthly donation to our Emergency Response Team so we are always ready to respond at a moment’s notice.

Donations to support our emergency responses are always needed long after the initial lifesaving work has been done. As the months, and even years go on, the focus shifts to long-term recovery efforts. You can read about our ongoing work responding to:

Your support is more important now than ever.

Please make a donation to help those most in need.