Community-based Disaster Management (CBDM)

Community-based Disaster Management (CBDM)

What is CBDM?

Community-based disaster management (CBDM) is an approach to building the capacity of communities to assess their vulnerability to both human induced and natural hazards and develop strategies and resources necessary to prevent and/or mitigate the impact of identified hazards as well as respond, rehabilitate, and reconstruct following its onset. CBDM strategies have become increasingly important in the face of global climate change, increased populations expanding into more vulnerable regions, and the heightened recognition of a need for greater linkages between top-down governmental and community level responses. CBDM empowers communities to be pro-active in disaster management and creates a space for them to develop strategies on their own terms rather than waiting for already overstretched governments and NGO's




Community-based disaster management (CBDM)is a new concept that emerged from bottom-up approach (Alternative Perspective). It can be seen as risk reduction programs designed primarily by and for the people in certain disaster-prone areas, where participation of the entire community is necessary (Ariyabandu, 2003:7). It is recognized in community-based approach that communities are knowledgeable about the disasters happening and are able to anticipate their effects. So, communities are put at the forefront in CBDM. However, communities may not be scientific in comprehension but the richness of experience and indigenous knowledge is a resource to be recognized. If their resources are developed with proper training and information, the communities would be able to safeguard and minimize disaster risks. Therefore, it is essential that local capacities should be strengthened to assess risks and develop mitigation strategies that are based on the communities’ human, financial, information and material resources (Yodmani, 2001:5).Hence, community-based disaster management has been used in this study as the process in which disaster management plans and programs are prepared and implemented at local level, where community participation is ensured in every stage; and knowledge, experience, problems, needs and resources of a particular community are recognized in this process.

Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) is an approach of promoting the involvement of grassroots community disaster risk management at the local level. For this, a series of efforts are required that include community self-interpretation of hazards and disaster risk, reduction and monitoring and evaluation of their own performance in disaster risk reduction. However, the key to both are optimal mobilisation of resources that community has and has control over and become the integral part of community daily lives (Paripurno, 2006a). Understanding is important because grassroots community living with hazards are not helpless people as the technocrats would refer them. Failure in such understanding will lead to unsustainable disaster risk reduction at the grassroots level. If disaster risk reduction agendas do not come from the awareness of local community capacity and community priority, the effort will not be sustainable.



CBDM by its very nature demands a decentralized bottoms-up approach with intensive, micro interventions at the local Panchayats, ward or village level with the intention of generating confidence, awareness, knowledge, partnership, and ownership for planning and rolling out local disaster management plans encompassing all levels of disaster management continuum.

Equity and inclusion of marginalized segments of the society and bringing the vulnerable groups to the center stage of planning and implementation of the CBDM have to be prioritized to make the programme participatory and inclusive. Disasters affect the entire community. However, persons with disability, women and children, underprivileged, older persons, and pregnant women need special attention at the programme implementation level. Such rights and human dignity based inclusive ethos created by such programmes will empower communities and display resilience in times of crisis.

Capacity building and training of community volunteers is the mainstay of community-based disaster management since they are the first responders. Considering a large number of stakeholders and community representatives that need to be sensitized and trained, it is important that capacity building and training interventions be meticulously planned for the purpose of CBDM. CBDM should converge with existing mainstream, institutional mechanisms, and social welfare delivery programmes to make it holistic, costeffective, multi-dimensional and community-centric.

Community Based Disaster Management (CBDM) or Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) is practice of disaster risk management in which at risk communities actively engaged in identification, analysis and assess the disaster risks for their own pursue to reduce their vulnerabilities and enhance their capabilities. CBDM is actually an approach of disaster management where the communities at risk are at center of disaster. That is involving the community in a way that they decide what to do, when to do and how to do to minimize the risk of disaster.

Most of the disaster response can be characterized into two main things as command and control. In the past these things happened where community does not have any say about their needs. Hence we can see many failures of projects in disaster response due to the lack of community participation. We can see a vast number of projects are failing to fulfill the minimum humanitarian help because of this community non-involvement though there were taken numbers of exceptional measures for reducing the vulnerability or risks.





Recognizing the limitations, the Community Based Disaster Management (CBDM) approach promotes a bottom-up approach working in harmony with the top - down approach, to address the challenges and difficulties. To be effective, local communities must be supported into analyzing their hazardous conditions, their vulnerabilities and capacities as they see themselves. A process of disaster risk management in which at risk communities are actively engaged to reduce their vulnerabilities and enhance their capacities through;                                                
§  Identification
§  Analysis
§  Treatment
§  Monitoring And
§  Evaluation of disaster risks


CBDRM Process consist of six steps

Selection of the community         
Rapport building and understanding the identified community
Participatory community risk assessment
Participatory action planning
Community-led implementation of the project
Participatory monitoring and evaluation of CBDRM project

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