CARE’s programme strategy should be designed to address the specific needs and contexts of the different phases of an emergency. Each emergency is different and progresses at different rates. Although ideally communities who have been affected by a crisis will be able to recover quickly and move to rehabilitation and reconstruction, this is often not the case. In particular, in complex emergencies, the crisis may not progress sequentially through the main phases of an emergency, but will move back and forth between different phases as the crisis changes.
The emergency response strategy should include an analysis of the likely phases of the emergency, considering different possible scenarios and identifying likely durations of each phase. Key interventions and funding targets can then be aligned with each phase (see Chapter 7 on Funds mobilisation).
The emergency relief phase is the period immediately following the occurrence of a sudden disaster (or the late discovery of a neglected/deteriorated slow-onset situation) when exceptional measures have to be taken to search and find the survivors, as well as meet their basic survival needs for shelter, water, food and medical care.
Rehabilitation is the phase that follows a disaster with a view to restore the affected community to its former living conditions, while adjusting to the changes caused by the disaster.
Reconstruction refers to the actions that re-establish a community after the rehabilitation period. Actions include construction of permanent housing, full restoration of services and a return to the pre-disaster state.
Mitigation encompasses all pre-disaster measures, including preparedness and long-term risk reduction measures.
Preparedness consists of activities designed to minimise loss of life and damage, organise the temporary removal of people and property from a threatened location, and facilitate timely and effective rescue, relief and rehabilitation.
Source: UNDP training module: An overview of disaster management.