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Strategy 2020: Goal 2

Save lives, build resilient communities and support people in disasters.

Shirley and Raymond Robertson

Shirley and Raymond Robertson have been married for more than 20 years. The Burnett River went through their Bundaberg, Queensland home at more than 70km/hr in January 2013, forcing the couple to move to an evacuation centre. Raymond says the only thing that helped them through this devastating time was the support of Red Cross volunteers. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Jack Tran


3 million Australians are equipped to be prepared for and recover from disasters

By 2020 significantly more people are better equipped to prepare for disasters. Red Cross, working with other organisations, will have helped three million Australians be better prepared for and equipped to recover from an emergency or disaster. Every year disasters such as bushfires, storms, heatwaves, drought and cyclones are becoming more frequent. When people are prepared it can help save lives and limit the impact of what happens. And when people are better equipped to recover, their return to a new normal is easier.

There has been a four-fold national increase in investment (government, corporate, other) in disaster risk reduction and community resilience

Research shows if Australia invested more money into disaster risk reduction and community resilience it would save the country billions of dollars, and reduce the impacts of disasters. We will be advocating and working hard to make sure there is a four-fold increase in the money that governments, corporates and other organisations invest in disaster risk reduction and community resilience. It is currently estimated $50 million is invested in this area.

Key partners in 14 Asia-Pacific countries can demonstrate increased capacity to support communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises

We want to reduce the social and economic impact of disasters in the Asia-Pacific region. We will help Red Cross national societies in 14 Asia-Pacific countries to build disaster resilience in their communities, as well as to enhance their position as local organisations delivering humanitarian and development assistance. We will do this by helping to build their internal capacity, supporting them to develop skills in areas such as organisational capability, financial sustainability and digital empowerment.

Australian Red Cross is responding to disasters and other significant emergencies 100% of the time

This outcome aims to minimise the social, psychological, emotional and economic impacts of disasters by supporting people who have been through them. Communities trust Red Cross and expect that we’ll be there to provide support in disasters, large and small. We will be looking to build on ways in which we can help people and communities who experience disasters and emergencies. This could include providing direct assistance, both in the immediate aftermath and the longer term, through psychosocial support and/or indirect support, such as sharing our expertise in recovery with communities and other organisations.


Currently Red Cross encourages people to complete a RediPlan - a free disaster preparedness guide that shows you and your family how to create a personalised emergency plan in just four simple steps. We also support our partners in the Asia-Pacific region to build community resilience, train local volunteers and build systems so that help is ready whenever disaster strikes.

Over the next few years, we will build on some of our existing approaches to preparing for emergencies using new and innovative techniques. For example, check out our award-winning idea to improve disaster response across the Pacific; this is one of the new projects we’ll be developing over the coming years.

We chose to increase our impact by sharpening our focus. Instead of more than 80 small projects scattered across the world, we are now building long-term partnerships with Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in 14 countries in our region.

We want our partners to be capable first responders to any crisis in their own countries, reducing the need for international assistance. This takes more than a one-off project: it requires investment in strong disaster management and health programs, good governance and accountability, human resources, partnerships and external influence.

Red Cross is particularly vital in the Pacific, where few other local agencies exist to respond to disasters. That’s why we are working with Cook Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, PNG and Tonga. We will also continue our long-term partnership with Timor-Leste Red Cross. In Asia, we work with partners in countries frequently battered by natural disasters: from harsh winters in Mongolia to floods in Bangladesh and Myanmar, earthquakes in Nepal, typhoons in the Philippines and drought in Indonesia.

In times of crisis, we will continue to assist anywhere in the world we are needed, through the International Federation of the Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

We will primarily work with these Red Cross societies:

    Cook Islands
    Solomon Islands
    Papua New Guinea

Currently Red Cross is involved in most significant emergencies, but we only respond when called upon by authorities (i.e. not necessarily driven by the need). In future we will proactively look at how we can help, or how our expertise can be used, in all significant disasters and emergencies. This outcome will drive us to look at how we can always respond – either directly or indirectly. Our strategy and performance team is currently reviewing this outcome to further define what we would consider a significant emergency. Watch this space!

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