The Averted Disaster Award aims to recognise successful disaster mitigation interventions around the world that often go unnoticed by the very nature of their success.
Why do successful DRM interventions tend to be invisible?
In their work, Lallemant, Rabonza et al. (2022) highlight four situations that tend to make successful disaster risk management interventions invisible. This include:
Success made invisible in the midst of broader disaster: Successful mitigation may result in fewer losses after a disaster, but this success is obscured amid the catastrophe and losses that were still incurred.
Success made invisible by nature of the success: A hazard becomes a disaster on account of the impacts it has on society. If mitigation efforts are so successful that there are no perceivable impacts, both the potential disaster and the successful mitigation are made invisible.
Success made invisible due to yet unrealised benefits: On account of the large time delay between the mitigation intervention and its benefits being realised, mitigation efforts could be seen as unsuccessful or unnecessary until a hazard event occurs.
Success made invisible by the randomness of the specific outcome: hazards always have some level of randomness, hence any single occurrence is only one of several possibilities that could have occurred. Successes can be made invisible if the hazard randomly does not strain mitigation measures. A good example would be a ‘near-miss’, which does not test the mitigation measure.