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Communicating with people in disasters


The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement believes communities need and deserve to have information that affects their future, both before and after a disaster. As in everyday life, communities make decisions based on the best possible information available to them at the given time. Sharing useful information with affected populations in languages they understand, through media and technology they trust, can be a life-saving resource.

The dialogue between affected communities and humanitarian organisations can also improve service delivery. This dialogue gives a voice to individuals, helping organisations understand their needs and concerns. It is essential to open lines of communication with all survivors, but particularly the most vulnerable; women, children and the elderly who often face difficulty accessing information.

Effective two-way dialogue with survivors of such a disaster is as critical as the delivery of aid itself. Not having systems in place to receive and communicate important, often life-saving messages, can be detrimental to relief efforts. In the absence of good two-way communication, disaster-affected communities may become disempowered and humanitarian actors miss out on a valuable perspective that can improve the way they deliver services.

Read more information on the IFRC's beneficiary communication initiatives.