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project topics on disaster risk management

33 Disaster Management Dissertation Topics Ideas

Disaster Management Dissertation Topics Disasters in their natural forms can prove to be quite harmful to the survival of human beings on Earth. Therefore, it is imperative to come up with new and innovative strategies to manage the damages due to natural disasters. Dissertation topics on disaster management cover all such strategies, policies, and plans. […]

Disaster Management Dissertation Topics

Disaster Management Dissertation Topics

Disasters in their natural forms can prove to be quite harmful to the survival of human beings on Earth. Therefore, it is imperative to come up with new and innovative strategies to manage the damages due to natural disasters. Dissertation topics on disaster management cover all such strategies, policies, and plans. In addition to this, disaster management research topics also include assessing the disasters and their impacts on different populations in different ways. The risks that arise as a result of natural disasters are also included in the subject matter of this field. Check out more related posts on Marketing Management and Event Managemet .

Best Disaster Management Dissertation Topics ideas for college students

Given below is a list of some very interesting disaster management thesis topics. We are available for guidance and help if you like to prepare your thesis/dissertation on any of the given topics:

  • The role played by occupational therapists in the domain of disaster management: a systematic analysis.
  • Investigating the role of disaster management in maintaining resilience for victims of floods: a quantitative study.
  • Relationship of community-based organizations in dealing with local disaster management issues.
  • Comparative analysis of the Turkish and Chinese disaster management systems and recommendations.
  • Investigation of the role played by weather radar in disaster management practices: a descriptive approach.
  • Ethics in disaster management policies and practices: a comparative analysis.
  • Information technology and the disaster management domain: potential challenges and opportunities.
  • Effects of an integrated geospatial information service system on disaster management domain.
  • Cyclone disaster management system: issues and their potential solutions.
  • How disaster management is maintained through big data computing and social sensing? A qualitative approach.
  • Comparative analysis of the disaster management systems of developed and developing countries of the world.
  • The role played by social workers in the disaster management systems in X country.
  • Decision-making strategies in disaster management: how emergencies are tackled with?
  • Disaster management systems for disabled people: a descriptive approach.
  • The role played by drone applications in the disaster management systems: a review of the literature.
  • Hurricane Katrina: lessons for university disaster management degrees.
  • Globalization of disaster management systems: potential challenges and interventions.
  • The role played by IT in mitigation, preparedness, and responses to natural disasters: a correlational analysis.
  • Community-based disaster management: how communities can work together?
  • UAV-assisted disaster management strategies: potential opportunities for updating the services.
  • Medicine supplies in high earthquake risk areas: how disaster management strategies are developed?
  • The role played by media in forecasted natural disasters: a review of the literature.
  • Community planning, public participation, and disaster management: focus on the achievement of sustainable hazard mitigation.
  • The role played by financial resources and digitalization in keeping a disaster management organization operational: a systematic study.
  • Pre-disaster management strategies: potential challenges and interventions.
  • Importance of geospatial support in disaster management strategies: a descriptive approach.
  • Remote sensing technologies and disaster management strategies: a review of the literature.
  • The role played by NGOs in disaster management systems for developing countries of the world.
  • Disaster management and hazardous waste cleanup.
  • Importance of governance in disaster management systems.

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298 Disaster Research Topics & Essay Titles + Examples

Are you looking for a good idea for your presentation, thesis project, dissertation, or other assignment? StudyCorgi has prepared a list of emergency management research topics and essay titles about various disaster-related issues. Below, you’ll also find free A+ essay examples. Read on to get inspired!

🌋 TOP 7 Disaster Management Topics for Presentation

🏆 best natural disaster essay topics, 💡 simple disaster management research topics, 👍 good disaster research topics & essay examples, 📌 easy disaster essay topics, 🔥 hot disaster management topics to write about, ❓ essay questions about natural disasters, 🎓 most interesting disaster research titles, ✍️ disaster essay topics for college, 📝 disaster argumentative essay topics.

  • Earthquakes’ Impacts on Society
  • Chernobyl Disaster and Engineering Ethics
  • 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami
  • Disaster Management in Nursing Practice
  • Hurricane Katrina: Government Ethical Dilemmas
  • Flooding and Ways to Survive in It
  • A Natural Disaster Preparation Plan
  • Nurse’s Role in Disaster Planning and Preparedness Public health officials play an important role in disaster planning and emergency preparedness. Nurses are involved in disaster planning, preparedness, response and recovery.
  • Community Health: Disaster Recovery Plan Healthy People 2020 is a government initiative aimed at improving health for all groups. Its objectives are raising length and quality of life, achieving health equity.
  • Floods: Stages, Types, Effects, and Prevention Flood is the most regularly occurring and the most destructive natural disaster. The most flood-prone area in the world is Asia, but the US has its own share of floods.
  • Forest Fires as a Global Environmental Hazard Every year, uncontrolled fire kills a large number of people and animals and also has a long-term effect on the environment.
  • Natural Disasters and Their Effects on Supply Chains This paper identifies emerging global supply chains and uses the cases of Thailand and Japan to explain the impacts of natural disasters on global supply chains.
  • Mining as a Cause of Environmental Disaster Mining does great damage to the environment and biological diversity of the planet. The negative consequences of mining indicates the gravity of the present ecological situation.
  • Effect of Flooding on Cultures in Egypt and Mesopotamia The effects of Tigris and Euphrates river largely impacted on the Mesopotamian culture more so with regard to its frequent and destructive floods.
  • Disaster Triage and Nursing Utilitarian Ethics Utilitarian moral principles are applicable to a wide range of extreme situations. One of the most relatable ethical issues in this context would be disaster triage.
  • Natural Disasters and Disaster Management in Katmandu This paper identifies the major disasters in the Kathmandu valley, suggested strategies to mitigate them, and the government’s move toward disaster management.
  • Human Factors In Aviation: Tenerife Air Disaster The probability of mistake linked to the issue estimates around 30%, which is too high for aviation. For this reason, there is a need for an enhanced understanding of the problem.
  • Comparison of the Loma Prieta California Earthquake and Armenia An earthquake is a tremor in the earth’s crust that results to seismic waves as a result of the sudden energy realized from the earths bowels.
  • Strategies Applicable to the Hurricane Katrina The Mississippi Crisis Plan many focuses on public information in order to ensure more communities and populations are aware of possible disasters.
  • Dell Technologies Company’s Disaster Recovery Plan The goals of Dell Technologies include not only succeeding in its target market and attracting new customers but also demonstrating that its technology can be safer.
  • Earthquake: Definition, Stages, and Monitoring An earthquake is a term used to describe the tremors and vibrations of the Earth’s surface; they are the result of sudden natural displacements and ruptures in the Earth’s crust.
  • Natural Disasters: Rebuilding and Recovery Using the case of Hurricane Sandy, this paper explores some of the best approaches that can be used to address social justice and multicultural issues related to rebuilding and recovery.
  • The Flood in Genesis and Lessons Learnt The story of the Flood in Genesis is fascinating because it is illustrative of the new beginning and a chance to achieve a different result for humanity.
  • Spiritual Considerations in the Context of a Disaster The purpose of this essay is to discuss the spiritual considerations arising after disasters and a nurse’s role in this scenario
  • Valero Refinery Disaster and Confined Space Entry On November 5, 2010, a disaster occurred at the Valero Delaware City, Delaware. Two workers succumbed to suffocation within a process vessel.
  • Henderson Flood Hazard and Risk Assessment A proper understanding of the disasters capable of disorienting the lives of the people of Henderson can guide different agencies to formulate interventions.
  • Disaster Recovery Plan for the Vila Health Community This Vila Health Disaster Recovery Plan will address the potential threat of the Monkeypox (MPX) outbreak in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area.
  • Disaster Preparedness and Recovery The paper analyzes the characteristics of public and private partners concerning disaster, their advantages and disadvantages, and the government’s role in disaster control.
  • Earthquakes: History and Studies Earthquakes are sudden movements of the earth’s surface caused by the abrupt release of energy into the earth’s crust. The earliest earthquake took place in China in 1411 BC.
  • Galveston Hurricane of 1900 The paper discusses Galveston, the 1900 hurricane. It remains the deadliest in terms of natural disasters ever witnessed in the history of America.
  • The Role of Nurses in Disaster Management Taking action in the event of adversities and helping out communities in recuperation is a central part of public health nurses.
  • Disaster Recovery Plan At Vila Health At Vila Health, the use of inadequate protocols caused confusion, staff overload, and excessive use of resources, so an improved Disaster Recovery plan is needed.
  • The 1900 Galveston Hurricane: Disaster Management Failure Isaac Cline, who by then was the director of the Galveston Weather Bureau, placed his arguments which were based on the statements saying that the city of Galveston did not require a seawall.
  • Media Coverage of the China 2008 Earthquake The Television and Video News websites used animate visuals to capture the aspects of the devastating epidemic of earthquake that struck China SiChuan region.
  • Earthquake’s Intensity and Magnitude Intensity measures earthquakes’ strength and indicates how much the ground shook. An earthquake’s magnitude quantifies its size.
  • Links Between Natural Disasters, Humanitarian Assistance, and Disaster Risk Reduction: A Critical Perspective
  • Global Warming: The Overlooked Man-Made Disaster Assignment
  • Natural Disaster, Comparing Huadong and Spence Views
  • Natural Disaster, Policy Action, and Mental Well-Being: The Case of Fukushima
  • Natural Disaster Equals Economic Turmoil – Trade Deficit
  • Disaster and Political Trust: The Japan Tsunami and Earthquake of 2011
  • Minamata Mercury Pollution Disaster
  • Natural Disaster Damages and Their Link to Coping Strategy Choices: Field Survey Findings From Post‐Earthquake Nepal
  • Flood Forecasting: Disaster Risk Management
  • Disaster Relief for People and Their Pets
  • Man-Made Natural Disaster: Acid Rain
  • What Spiritual Issues Surrounding a Disaster Can Arise for Individuals, Communities, and Health Care Providers
  • Natural Disaster Management Strategy for Common People
  • Flood Disaster Management With the Use of Association for Healthcare Philanthropy
  • Disaster Relief and the United Nation’s Style of Leadership
  • India’s 1984 Bhopal Disaster Analysis
  • The National Disaster Management Authority
  • Natural Disaster Insurance and the Equity-Efficiency Trade-off
  • What the Puerto Rican Hurricanes Make Visible: Chronicle of a Public Health Disaster Foretold
  • Disaster, Aid, and Preferences: The Long-Run Impact of the Tsunami on Giving in Sri Lanka
  • Natural Disaster Early Warning Systems
  • Disaster Preparedness for Travis County Texas
  • Establishing Disaster Resilience Indicators for Tan-SUI River Basin in Taiwan
  • Natural Disaster Death and Socio-Economic Factors in Selected Asian Countries
  • Managing the Arsenic Disaster in Water Supply: Risk Measurement, Costs of Illness and Policy Choices for Bangladesh
  • Large-Scale Natural Disaster Risk Scenario Analysis: A Case Study of Wenzhou City, China
  • Hurricane Katrina: Natural Disaster or Human Error
  • Disaster Relief and the American Red Cross
  • Extreme Natural Events Mitigation: An Analysis of the National Disaster Funds in Latin America
  • The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster and Its Effects on the World
  • Disasters and Emergency Response in the Community The onset of a disaster prompts the nation, region, or community affected to depend on the emergency response team.
  • Earthquake Mitigation Measures for Oregon Oregon could prepare for the earthquake by using earthquake-proof construction technologies and training people.
  • The Review of the Challenger Disaster This essay aims to discuss the Challenger Disaster and consider the details of the mission. It examines the reasons why the mission was conducted despite the warnings of engineers.
  • Hurricane Katrina’s Mental Health Impact on Populations The occurrence of Hurricane Katrina and Tsunami disasters called for the development of specialized techniques that would respond to a crisis.
  • Natural Sciences. 1996 Mount Everest Disaster The events of spring 1996 are now remembered as one of the most unfortunate as fifteen individuals lost their lives during the summit to the Everest.
  • Chornobyl Disaster: Exploring Radiation Measurement After Fukushima The event is the Chornobyl disaster. A flawed reactor design caused it (Westmore, 2020). It resulted in the discharge of radioactive particles.
  • Lake Oroville Disaster: Analysis Water released from the lake through the spillway was halted to assess the damage, which caused the quick rise of Lake Oroville water levels.
  • Preparedness Planning in Case of Flooding According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a preparedness plan for floods is divided into multiple steps that meet a national preparedness goal.
  • Disasters Caused by Climate Change This paper focuses on several recent natural disasters caused by climate change – simultaneous fires in Russia and floods in Pakistan.
  • The Importance of Disaster Recovery The paper aims at providing a Disaster Recovery Plan for the Vila Health community and presenting evidence-based strategies to enhance the recovery effort.
  • Disaster, PTSD, and Psychological First Aid Psychological first aid should be consistent and evidence-based, practically applicable in the field, appropriate, and culturally flexible.
  • Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster: Causes of the Tragedy and the Measures to Be Taken On January 28, 1986, the Challenger was launched to explode 73 seconds after its lift-off. The tragedy is commonly called “the worst disaster in the history of the space program”.
  • Stop Disasters Game: Learning, Entertainment, or Both? It is worth mentioning that the game seems to be informative in helping the player understand how to get prepared for natural calamities.
  • Lazarus Island: Disaster Systems Analysis and Design This paper aims to develop a web-based emergency management system for the government of Lazarus Island. This system will be used at the response stage of disaster management.
  • Disaster Planning and Health Information Management This paper discusses promising measures and practices to help the organization to avoid situations with loosing all health information in case of future disastrous events.
  • Environmental Disaster Education: Incorporation Into the University Curriculum Naturally, disasters occur without any notification. Depending on the type of disaster, it is always important to approach the problem with immediate effect.
  • Riverbend City’s Flood Disaster Communication Both communication and leadership styles can have profound effects on the behavior and productivity of individuals in their circles. This work analyzes the Riverbend City scenario.
  • Hurricane Hanna, Aftermath and Community Recovery The consequences of the hurricane Hanna that were described by the Federal Emergency Management Agency suggest possible long-lasting environmental issues.
  • Disaster Recovery Team and Disaster Recovery Strategy In order to be able to tackle any disaster promptly and efficiently, the disaster recovery roster of any organization should include a number of critically substantial individuals.
  • Hurricane Katrina, Its Economic and Social Impact Hurricane Katrina is one of the worst disasters that ever happened on the territory of the US, and the magnitude of the damage that it has caused is nearly impossible to measure.
  • Mississippi’ Disaster: Hurricane Katrina Crisis Strategy The primary strength of the crisis plan adopted by the authorities in Mississippi is the commitment of the authorities respond faster than they did during Hurricane Katrina.
  • Emergency Operations Plan During Earthquake Timeliness and quality of response to environmental challenges are the primary factors that can save the lives of thousands of people.
  • Ethics of the Flixborough Chemical Plant Disaster The Flixborough chemical plant disaster exposed some problematic ethical issues found in the engineering industry.
  • Disaster: Typhoon in Philipines Developing countries struggle to receive equal access to the same options. States like the Philippines do not have enough resources to invest in resilience and prevention measures.
  • The Tohoku Earthquake: Tsunami Entry The paper discusses the Tohoku earthquake. The tsunami evacuation can be described as one that was preceded by warning, preparation, and knowledge.
  • Earthquakes: Effects on People’s Health Earthquakes are one of the global environmental health issues that hugely impact people’s lives in certain geographical areas and communities.
  • Earthquakes as the Natural Disaster Posing the Greatest Danger to Societies The scope of irreparable damage, human losses, and paralyzed infrastructure due to earthquakes causes high economic costs for rescuing, preventing, reconstructing, rehabilitating.
  • Hurricane Katrina: Improvised Communication Plan This article seeks to highlight improvised communication plans adopted by the victims in the shelter at the Houston Astrodome.
  • William Mulholland and the St. Francis Dam Disaster The 1928 St. Francis dam disaster in Los Angeles, California is one of the most devastating man-made failures in the history of the United States.
  • Disaster and People Behavior Changes Some of the behavioral changes that occur due to the presence of a disaster relying from research from sources across the world on the countries affected by the disasters.
  • Causes of the Haiti Earthquake This paper defines what an earthquake is, then discusses and reviews the causes of the Haiti Earthquake and the possibility of another Earthquake.
  • India’s, Indonesia’s, Haiti’s, Japan’s Earthquakes In 2001, the major tremor hit the Indian state Gujarat. It was reported as the most significant earthquake in the region in the last several decades.
  • The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster Factors One of the causes of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster is that NASA put more emphasis on the timeframe of the project as compared to the quality standards of the project.
  • Vulnerable Population: Disaster Management’ Improvement This paper helps understand that addressing an array of needs and demands of the vulnerable population remains one of the major issues in the sphere of disaster and emergency management.
  • Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response Health Care practitioners play a very important role in hurricane preparation initiatives and disaster response.
  • Concrete Homes Your Fortress in a Natural Disaster
  • II-the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster the Year
  • Hurricane Katrin Human-Made Disaster
  • Hurricane Sandy: Lessons Learned From the Natural Disaster
  • Thomas Drabek and Crisis and Disaster Management
  • Disaster Management: The Cases of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, and Hurricane Ike
  • Natural Disaster, Environmental Concerns, Well-Being and Policy Action
  • Improving the American Red Cross Disaster Relief
  • Union Carbide Disaster: Bhopal, India
  • Managing Risk the Disaster Plan That You Will Need
  • Disasters: Disaster Management Cycle and Major Disasters in India in the Year 2017
  • Ready for the Storm: Education for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation
  • Fire Prevention and Basic Disaster Management
  • Japan Tsunami Disaster March 2011 Present the Earthquake-Tsunami Hit Japan
  • Indian Ocean Tsunami: Disaster, Generosity, and Recovery
  • Gauley Bridge Disaster and Bhopal Disaster
  • Natural Disaster Shocks and Macroeconomic Growth in Asia: Evidence for Typhoons and Droughts
  • Disaster Recovery Toms River After Sandy
  • The History About the Bhopal Disaster Construction
  • The Black Death Was the Largest Disaster of European History
  • Middle Tennessee Disaster Analysis
  • Living With the Merapi Volcano: Risks and Disaster Microinsurance
  • Natural Disaster Risk Management in the Philippines: Reducing Vulnerability
  • Korea’s Neoliberal Restructuring: Miracle or Disaster
  • The Indian Ocean Tsunami: Economic Impact, Disaster Management, and Lessons
  • Modeling the Regional Impact of Natural Disaster and Recovery
  • Knowledge Management Systems and Disaster Management in Malaysia
  • Disaster Planning and Emergency Response
  • Disaster Vulnerability and Evacuation Readiness: Coastal Mobile Home Residents in Florida
  • Hurricane Katrin Disaster Response and Recovery System
  • Natural Disasters: The Budalangi Flood Sometimes floods come when people are not aware. The Budalangi flood occurred when people believed that the dykes the government had constructed would protect them.
  • Tornado and Hurricane Comparison Both a tornado and a hurricane are fraught with terrible consequences, both in terms of material damage and the possible injuries. Hurricanes causes impressively lesser damage.
  • Environmental Studies: The Chernobyl Disaster On April 26, 1986, The Chernobyl Unit 4 Reactor was undergoing a test on the system that was meant to provide electric power in case of a power outage.
  • Nuclear Disasters: Fukushima and Chernobyl Both Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters were nuclear crises that occurred accidentally in Japan and Ukraine respectively.
  • Risk Management Model and Disaster Recovery Plan Risks may be categorized by their financial outcomes. Risks that entail merely an economic loss are the worst type of risk that is detrimental to organizational sustainability.
  • A Hurricane Threat: A Risk Communication Plan The paper discusses a risk communication plan for the residents of New Orleans about a hurricane threat. It addresses disaster scenarios and introduces the risk communication plan.
  • Why the Hurricane Katrina Response Failed Hurricane Katrina was the most destructive hurricane in US history, hit in late August 2005. The most severe damage from Hurricane Katrina was caused to New Orleans in Louisiana.
  • The US Disaster Recovery System’s Analysis The US disaster recovery system is operating below its potential, hence there is a need to review performance in past disaster incidents.
  • Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery in the US PDD-39 and HSPD-5 are very similar safety directives, united by the provisions concerning terrorism as a world problem and the attitude of the United States towards it.
  • An Agent-Based Model of Flood Risk and Insurance This paper provides all essential information concerning the nature of property and liability insurance along with its core principles.
  • Hurricane Maria and Community Response to Hazard Hurricane Maria, which took place in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Dominica on September 20, 2017, is believed to be one of the most devastating natural disasters.
  • Discussion of Managing Disasters in the USA People in the United States of America are constantly in danger of natural disasters, such as storms and tornadoes.
  • FEMA Assistance to Man-Made and Natural Disasters The Federal Emergency Management Agency can provide financial assistance to individuals and families who, as a result of natural disasters, have incurred expenses.
  • Hurricane Response Plan: Analysis The City of Baton Rouge Emergency Services has developed a five-step detailed response plan in the event of a major hurricane to reduce risks to civilians and city infrastructure.
  • The Hurricane Katrina: Consequences Hurricane Katrina is one of the unprecedented disasters that led to deaths and the destruction of economic resources.
  • The Possibility of Agroterrorism: Disaster Management Efforts The U.S. needs to prepare for the possibility of agroterrorism. Local administrators are responsible for disaster management efforts.
  • Earthquakes Preventions in USA and Japan The article clarifies the issue of earthquakes in the United States, investigate the weaknesses of the American system, and explore the benefits of the Japanese technique.
  • Aspects of Hurricane Irma: Analysis The paper examines Hurricane Irma and the responses of the country, state, and Monroe County to the disaster. Irma was one of the most powerful hurricanes.
  • Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand The earthquake is considered one of the costliest natural disasters in history. Thousands of buildings, cars, and other property were damaged or destroyed completely.
  • Researching of Record-Breaking Floods Floods are natural disasters, usually caused by excessive precipitation, leading to severe consequences. The most significant flood in the world occurred in 1931 in China
  • Bhopal Disaster: Analytical Evaluation The Bhopal accident occurred in India almost 40 years ago, on December 2, 1984. This disaster claimed the lives of 3800 people.
  • Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans, on the United States Gulf Coast, on August 29, 2005, leaving a path of devastation and flooding in her wake.
  • “Emergency Management”: Building Disaster-Resilient Communities “Emergency Management” exemplifies the opportunities available currently in regard to building disaster-resilient communities to strengthen emergency management in the US.
  • Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster: Results After the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, NASA identified the management failure elements that led to the disaster and substituted them with sustainable alternatives.
  • Hurricane Vince: The Tropical Cyclone Hurricane Vince is a tropical cyclone that formed and developed in the eastern region of the Atlantic Ocean in 2005, near the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Disaster Recovery Plan in Overcoming Disparities Health services are a social determinant and barrier that affects community health, safety, and recovery efforts.
  • Consequences of Northridge Earthquake The paper discusses Northridge Earthquake. A blind thrust fault provoked an earthquake of a magnitude of 6.7, which is high for such a natural phenomenon.
  • Humanitarian Assistance After 2010 Haiti Earthquake This paper aims to discuss how the people of Haiti experienced the earthquake, as well as how humanitarian aid from various organizations helped make a difference for Haitians.
  • Disasters Influenced by Technology Depending on the natural environment of a community, social and building systems could either be strong or weak and vulnerable to a disaster.
  • Destructive Atlantic Hurricane Season in 2017 The deadly and destructive 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season affected many people in society as it made people lose over 200 billion dollars.
  • Earthquakes: Determination of the Risk There is a need to create awareness and knowledge about earthquake disasters and how to mitigate and respond to such disasters.
  • Disaster Management and Analysis of Information The assessment and analysis of a disaster help understand the main problem, causes, and effects on human safety and security.
  • Disasters and Actions of Rapid Response Services The collaborative work of rapid response services in emergencies is crucial for the rapid and effective elimination of their consequences and for saving people’s lives.
  • Earthquake Threats in Bakersfield Earthquakes and dam failures are the most severe threats to Bakersfield, both of which can result in gas leaks and power disruptions.
  • The Mississippi Floods of 2020, Its Impact and the Requisite Solution for the Future For numerous years, the Mississippi River has been prone to flooding incidents proved quite inconvenient for the local communities.
  • How Can We Prevent Natural Disasters?
  • What Is the Relationship Between Disaster Risk and Climate Change?
  • How Does Disaster Affect Our Lives?
  • Where Do Natural Disasters Happen?
  • What Natural Disasters Are Caused by Climate Change?
  • How Can We Communicate Without a Phone or Internet in a Disaster?
  • What Is the Difference Between Crisis Management and Disaster Recovery?
  • Can Natural Disasters Be Prevented?
  • How Can We Reduce Disaster Risk?
  • Are Natural Disaster Situations a Formidable Obstacle to Economic Growth?
  • Why Is Communication Important in Disaster Management?
  • How Do Natural Disasters Help the Earth?
  • What Are the Principles of Disaster Management?
  • Are There Any Aspects of BP’s Ethical Culture That Could Have Contributed to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Disaster?
  • Why Is Governance Important in Disaster Management?
  • How Does Weak Governance Affect Disaster Risk?
  • What Are the 5 Important Elements of Disaster Preparedness?
  • How Can Climate Change Affect Natural Disasters?
  • What Is Alternative Communication System During Disaster?
  • How to Cope With the Stress of Natural Disasters?
  • Does Economic Growth Really Reduce Disaster Damages?
  • Who Is Responsible for Disaster Management?
  • What Is the Importance of Disaster Risk Assessment?
  • How Important Is Disaster Awareness and Preparedness?
  • Does Natural Disaster Only Harm Humankind?
  • Hurricane Katrina: Military and Civilian Response One of the three most dramatic catastrophes of the millennium, hurricane Katrina highlighted weak points of government and military forces.
  • The Haiti Quake and Disaster Aid The experience of Haiti with earthquakes supports the opinion of researchers that there are factors that might prevent entities from assisting the populations.
  • Disaster Recovery Plan for the Vila Health Community The Vila Health community has significant limitations as it has many elderly patients with complex health conditions, with shelters for the homeless running at capacity.
  • Flood Environmental Issues in the Netherlands With the current constantly rising sea levels, the Netherlands is at constant risk of floods, and those calamities were harsh incentives for the country’s development.
  • Hurricane Katrina and Failures of Emergency Management Operations Hurricane Katrina came from the coast of Louisiana on August 29, 2005, immediately resulting in a Category 3 storm as winds reached the speed of over 120 miles per hour.
  • Incident Command System and Disaster Response The significance of successfully deploying the Incident Command System to any type or scale of emergency response situation cannot be overestimated.
  • Communities and Disaster Preparedness: Limiting the Spread of COVID-19 This paper focuses on communicating the necessary rules children must follow to limit the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible.
  • Preventing Forest Fires in California with Forestry Changes From the beginning of the 21st century, California has been experiencing an increase in forest fires, destroying citizens’ lives and property.
  • Disaster Planning for Public Health: Darby Township Case The present paper is devoted to flood preparedness and planning in Darby Township (DT) located in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
  • Hurricane: How Human Actions Affect It To prevent the frequent occurrence of hurricanes, it is necessary to understand the process of their occurrence and how human actions affect it.
  • “Measuring Inequality in Community Resilience to Natural Disasters” by Hong et al. This paper analyzes the scientific study “Measuring inequality in community resilience to natural disasters using large-scale mobility data” and the content of the article.
  • Natural Disaster Preparedness in Texas: Nursing Response Southeast Texas is the territory largely affected by hurricanes. In addition to property damage, hurricanes pose threats to public and individual health in different ways.
  • Overpopulation’s and Environmental Disasters’ Connection This essay focuses on evaluating overpopulation as one of the greatest environmental threats, the relationship between the problem of overpopulation and harm to harmony in nature.
  • Nursing and Natural Disasters: An Emergency Planning Project The purpose of this paper is to describe the role of the nurse in an emergency situation (an earthquake) by listing priorities, resources, describing the nursing process.
  • Hurricane Katrina: Hazards Management This paper explores the events of Hurricane Katrina in regard to the arguments for and against rebuilding along the shorelines.
  • Disaster Preparedness Experience It is essential to conduct such training for water damage, which can come from floods or even a small leak that goes undetected for some time.
  • Noah’s Floods: Development of the Grand Canyon Rocks The paper discusses Noah’s floods. Developing a distinction between the sole causes for the development of the Grand Canyon rocks is still a daunting task.
  • Drought as an Extremely Dangerous Natural Disaster On our planet, especially in places with an arid climate, drought itself, like the dry winds that cause it, are not uncommon.
  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Information technology disaster recovery management procedures remain an important element of the overall corporate strategy.
  • Adopting Smart Grid to Mitigate the Blackout Disaster The author proposes the creation of a smart grid for effective blackout monitoring and mitigation the blackout disasters.
  • Loss Prevention and How It Was Affected by Hurricane Katrina The most damaging flood in United States’ history, is known as the 2005 Great New Orleans Flood or Katrina. It is estimated that the damages were incurred in 2005.
  • Prevention of Nuclear Disasters The paper reports on the mechanical and engineering failures that sparked a nuclear meltdown in the Three Mile power plant, its effects and the ways to improve safety.
  • A Report on Earthquakes Using Scientific Terms The current essay is a report on earthquakes using scientific terms from the course. Moment magnitude or moment magnitude scale refers to the relative size of an earthquake.
  • Nuclear Disaster Prevention and Related Challenges The article addresses the role of transparency in monitoring nuclear arsenals as well as the varied approaches for identifying challenges.
  • Chernobyl and Fukushima Disasters: Their Impact on the Ecology The fallout’s impact poses a danger to animal and plant life because of the half-life of the released isotopes. Longer exposure to radiation may lead to the burning of the skin.
  • Information Technology Disaster Recovery Planning Disaster recovery planning is the procedure and policies set aside by a given organization to ensure their continuity and recovery from a natural or human-caused disaster.
  • Disaster Responses: Improving the State of Affairs Despite technological improvements and increased knowledge, humanity is still struggling against disasters because they cannot either predict them or respond to them appropriately.
  • Disaster Preparedness: Miami, Florida The development of a disaster preparedness plan is a priority for all states, and Miami, Florida, is no exception to the rule.
  • Emergency and Disaster Preparedness in Healthcare The impromptu nature of emergency and disaster occurrence makes it almost impossible to prepare for emergencies and other challenges.
  • Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and Hurricane Harvey The coast of the United States in general and Texas in particular experiences tropical storms on a regular basis. Hurricanes hit the Texas coastline, often causing property damage.
  • “Manual Dosage and Infusion Rate Calculations During Disasters” by Wilmes The article “Manual dosage and infusion rate calculations during disasters” written by Wilmes, highlights the importance of manual calculation skills in nurses.
  • Earthquake Resistant Building Technology & Ethics Foreign engineers aimed to replace Japanese architecture with a more solid one with masonry houses, new railroads, iron bridges and other European technological advances.
  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Data loss is the center of focus of business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR), as this is the lifeblood of business operations today.
  • Fire Disaster Plan For a Skilled Nursing Facility The purpose of this fire disaster plan is to provide guidance to the skilled nursing facility on fire emergency procedures to protect the lives and property of staff, residents.
  • Southern Europe Flash Floods: Disaster Overview Southern Europe flash floods are the most recent significant event. People need to learn about the cause and effects of flooding and apply the knowledge to protect themselves.
  • The Atlantic Hurricane Season Explained
  • Community Disaster Preparedness in Nassau County, New York
  • Article Review: “The Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Trust in Government”
  • International and South Africa’s Disaster Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Motivation in Hurricane Response
  • All-Hazards Disaster Preparedness: The Role of the Nurse
  • Disaster, Crisis, Trauma: Interview with a Victim
  • Effects of Earthquakes: Differences in the Magnitude of Damage Caused by Earthquakes
  • How Natural Disasters Impact Systems at Various Levels?
  • Disasters’ Benefits to People Who Experience Them
  • Chernobyl Disaster’s Socio-Economic and Environmental Impact
  • Was the BP Oil Spill Disaster in the Gulf Avoidable
  • Managing Change, the Challenger and Columbia Shuttle Disasters
  • Ethical and Legal Issues During Catastrophes or Disasters
  • Has the Media Changed the Response to Natural Disasters?
  • Managing Emergencies and Disasters
  • Energy Safety and Earthquake Hazards Program
  • Recovery Efforts During 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina
  • Hurricane Katrina as One of the Worst National Disasters in the USA
  • Destructive Force: Earthquake in Aquila, Italy
  • Hurricane Katrina and the USA’s South
  • International Studies: Global Disasters
  • Historical Perspective and Disasters as a Process
  • Hurricane Katrina: Determining Management Approach
  • Scientific Responsibility for Earthquakes in Japan
  • Disaster Recovery. Automated Management System
  • Vulnerability of Hazardville to Flooding Disasters
  • The Climate Tragedy and Adaptation to Disasters
  • Potential Disasters’ Impact on Nursing Community
  • Teaching Experience in Disaster Management Among Teenage Students
  • National Guidance During Hurricane Katrina
  • Disaster Operations and Decision Making
  • Psychological Issues After a Crisis or Disaster
  • Disaster Management and Training for Emergency
  • Hurricane Katrina and Public Administration Action
  • Decision-Making in the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster
  • Emergency Planner’s Role in Disaster Preparedness
  • Disaster Recovery Plan: Business Impact Analysis
  • The “New Normal” Concept After Disaster
  • Disaster Management: Evacuations from Gulf Coast Hurricanes
  • American and European Disaster Relief Agencies
  • Flooding in Houston and New Life After It
  • Deepwater Horizon Disaster and Prevention Plan
  • Emergency and Disaster Management Legal Framework
  • Disaster Support by Miami and Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina in Psychological Aspect
  • Disaster Plan Activation and Healthcare Staff
  • Hurricane Katrina and Emergency Planning Lessons
  • Family Self-Care and Disaster Management Plan
  • How Can the Negative Effects of Disasters Be Avoided?
  • Disaster Management: Terrorism and Emergency Situations
  • Defence Against Coastal Flooding in Florida
  • Evaluation as Part of a Disaster Management Plan
  • World Trade Center Disaster and Anti-Terrorism
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Post-Disaster Fraud
  • Structural Violence and Hurricane Matthew in Haiti
  • Kendall Regional Medical Center’s Disaster Plan
  • Houston’s Revitalization After Harvey Hurricane
  • Hurricane Katrina: Facts, Impacts and Prognosis
  • Nonprofit Organizations’ Disaster Management
  • Philadelphia Winter Snow Disaster and Its Impact
  • Fukushima and Chernobyl’ Nuclear Disasters Comparison
  • Natural Disasters Effects on the Supply Chain
  • Homeland Security: Fast Response to Disasters and Terrorism
  • Geology: Iquique Earthquake in Chile
  • The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster
  • Hurricane Katrina’ Meaning: Mental, Economic, and Geographical Impact
  • Preparing for Terrorism and Disasters in the New Age of Health Care
  • Healthcare Facilities Standards and Disaster Management
  • Hurricane Katrina Emergency Management
  • Planning Disaster Management in the Urban Context
  • Strategic Preparedness for Disasters
  • Hurricane Katrina and the US Emergency Management

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StudyCorgi. (2021, September 9). 298 Disaster Research Topics & Essay Titles + Examples. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/disaster-essay-topics/

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1. StudyCorgi . "298 Disaster Research Topics & Essay Titles + Examples." September 9, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/disaster-essay-topics/.


StudyCorgi . "298 Disaster Research Topics & Essay Titles + Examples." September 9, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/disaster-essay-topics/.

StudyCorgi . 2021. "298 Disaster Research Topics & Essay Titles + Examples." September 9, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/disaster-essay-topics/.

These essay examples and topics on Disaster were carefully selected by the StudyCorgi editorial team. They meet our highest standards in terms of grammar, punctuation, style, and fact accuracy. Please ensure you properly reference the materials if you’re using them to write your assignment.

This essay topic collection was updated on January 22, 2024 .


Top 17+ Disaster Management Project Ideas for Students

disaster management project ideas

Disasters, like unwelcome guests, often arrive unannounced, reminding us of the unpredictable nature of life. Whether it’s the force of a hurricane or the aftermath of a technological mishap, the impact can be profound. In the face of such uncertainty, the importance of effective disaster management cannot be overstated. This is where students step into the picture, not merely as passive learners but as proactive contributors to community resilience. 

However, Disaster management project ideas for students transcend the boundaries of textbooks, offering a dynamic arena where theoretical knowledge merges with hands-on experience. It’s an educational journey that goes beyond the classroom, shaping young minds into adept problem solvers for the challenges our world may throw their way.

What is a Disaster Management Project?

Table of Contents

A Disaster Management Project is a proactive and strategic initiative designed to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the impact of disasters. These projects encompass a range of activities, from risk assessments and emergency planning to the implementation of practical measures for disaster resilience. Students engaging in such projects actively participate in developing and applying solutions, gaining hands-on experience in crisis scenarios. Through these initiatives, they not only enhance their theoretical understanding of disaster management but also contribute to building more resilient communities by addressing real-world challenges.

Benefits of Disaster Management Projects

Here are some benefits of disaster management project ideas for students:

Enhancing Critical Thinking Skills

One of the primary advantages of undertaking disaster management projects is the enhancement of critical thinking skills. Students are challenged to analyze complex situations, identify potential risks, and devise effective solutions. This fosters a mindset of quick decision-making, a skill that proves beneficial in various aspects of life.

Developing Teamwork and Leadership Qualities

Disaster management projects often involve teamwork, simulating real-life scenarios where collaboration is essential. Students learn to work harmoniously with diverse team members, honing their interpersonal and leadership qualities. These skills are transferable to any professional setting, making these projects highly valuable for personal development.

Practical Application of Theoretical Knowledge

While textbooks provide foundational knowledge, disaster management projects allow students to apply theoretical concepts in a practical setting. This hands-on experience not only reinforces classroom learning but also instills a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Cultivating Adaptability in Dynamic Environments

Engaging in disaster management projects exposes students to unpredictable and dynamic scenarios, fostering adaptability. This ability to adjust and innovate in real-time is a crucial life skill, applicable not only in disaster response but also in navigating the ever-changing landscape of professional and personal challenges.

Promoting Effective Communication Skills

Communication is the cornerstone of successful disaster management. Students involved in such projects learn to convey critical information succinctly and clearly, overcoming potential barriers. This skill is transferrable to diverse settings, from boardroom negotiations to everyday interactions, enhancing their overall communicative efficacy.

List of Disaster Management Project Ideas for Students

Discover some disaster management project ideas for students in 2024:

1. Community Emergency Preparedness App

Create a mobile application that educates and assists communities in preparing for disasters. The app could include features such as emergency checklists, evacuation routes, and real-time alerts. This project aims to empower individuals with essential information, fostering a culture of preparedness and quick response during crises.

2. Disaster Response Drone System

Design a drone system equipped with sensors for rapid disaster assessment. Drones can be deployed to disaster-stricken areas, providing real-time data on infrastructure damage, identifying survivors, and aiding rescue operations. This project integrates technology to enhance the efficiency of disaster response, enabling faster and more informed decision-making.

3. Smart Flood Monitoring System

Develop a system that employs IoT devices to monitor water levels in flood-prone areas. This project involves installing sensors in key locations, collecting data on water levels, and sending alerts when levels exceed safety thresholds. Such a system enhances early warning capabilities, allowing communities to evacuate in a timely manner and minimizing the impact of floods on lives and property.

4. Earthquake-resistant Building Materials

Investigate and develop materials that enhance the earthquake resistance of structures. This project focuses on creating innovative construction materials that can absorb seismic energy and mitigate damage during earthquakes. Implementing such materials in buildings contributes to increased resilience and safety in earthquake-prone regions.

5. Virtual Reality Disaster Training Simulations

Design virtual reality simulations for disaster response training. This project involves creating realistic scenarios that allow emergency responders and community members to practice their roles in a safe and controlled environment. Virtual reality simulations enhance preparedness by providing hands-on training experiences without the risks associated with actual disasters.

6. Medical Emergency Response Network

Establish a network for efficient communication and coordination among medical facilities during emergencies. This project aims to streamline the distribution of medical resources, personnel, and information, ensuring a swift and effective response to health-related challenges in the aftermath of disasters. However, this is one of the top disaster management project ideas. 

7. Wildfire Prediction and Prevention System

Develop an advanced system that utilizes machine learning algorithms to predict and prevent wildfires. This project involves analyzing environmental data, such as temperature and humidity, to forecast areas at high risk of wildfires. Additionally, implement preventive measures like controlled burns or early detection systems to minimize the impact of wildfires on ecosystems and communities.

8. Community-based Tsunami Warning System

Create a localized tsunami warning system that integrates with community infrastructure. This project involves installing sirens or other alert mechanisms in coastal areas susceptible to tsunamis. By leveraging technology and community engagement, this system enhances the speed and effectiveness of tsunami warnings, allowing residents to evacuate to safer ground promptly.

9. Post-Disaster Psychological Support Platform

Develop an online platform that provides psychological support and resources for individuals affected by disasters. This project focuses on addressing the mental health challenges that arise in the aftermath of disasters, offering counseling services, coping strategies, and community forums for mutual support. The platform aims to foster resilience and facilitate the healing process for those impacted by traumatic events.

10. Renewable Energy-powered Emergency Shelters

Design and implement emergency shelters equipped with renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines. This project aims to create sustainable and off-grid shelters that can provide power for lighting, communication, and medical equipment during disasters. Implementing renewable energy in emergency shelters contributes to environmental sustainability while ensuring the availability of essential services in crisis situations.

11. Augmented Reality Search and Rescue Interface

Develop an augmented reality (AR) interface to assist search and rescue teams during disaster response. This project involves creating AR overlays that provide real-time information about the surroundings, helping rescue teams navigate and locate survivors more efficiently in challenging environments. In addition, it is one of the major disaster management project ideas. 

12. Smart Agriculture for Disaster Resilience

Create a system that integrates smart agriculture techniques to enhance food security in disaster-prone regions. This project involves deploying sensors to monitor soil conditions, crop health, and weather patterns, enabling farmers to make informed decisions and improve resilience against the impact of disasters on agriculture.

13. Crowdsourced Disaster Mapping

Develop a platform that allows users to contribute and verify disaster-related information through crowdsourcing. This project aims to create accurate and up-to-date maps of affected areas, aiding emergency responders in planning and executing relief efforts with a better understanding of the current situation on the ground.

14. Mobile Health Clinics for Remote Areas

Design a mobile health clinic that can be quickly deployed to remote areas affected by disasters. This project involves creating a compact and self-sufficient healthcare unit equipped with telemedicine capabilities, providing essential medical services to communities that may be cut off from traditional healthcare facilities during emergencies.

15. Smart Infrastructure Monitoring System

Implement a system that uses IoT devices to monitor the structural integrity of critical infrastructure like bridges and dams. This project aims to detect potential issues early on, allowing for timely maintenance and preventing infrastructure failures that could exacerbate the impact of disasters.

16. Drought-resistant Crop Varieties

Research and develop crop varieties that are more resistant to drought conditions. This project focuses on creating resilient plant breeds that can withstand water scarcity, ensuring food security in regions prone to droughts and contributing to sustainable agriculture practices. In other words, this is one of the simple and easy disaster management project ideas. 

17. Blockchain-based Disaster Aid Distribution

Implement a blockchain system to enhance transparency and efficiency in the distribution of disaster aid. This project involves creating a secure and decentralized platform that tracks the flow of resources from donors to recipients, reducing the risk of fraud and ensuring that aid reaches those who need it most.

18. Smart Traffic Management for Evacuations

Develop a smart traffic management system that optimizes evacuation routes during disasters. This project involves integrating real-time data on road conditions, weather, and population density to recommend the most efficient evacuation routes, reducing congestion and facilitating the swift movement of people to safety.

19. Biodegradable Disaster Cleanup Technology

Create environmentally friendly solutions for disaster cleanup by developing biodegradable materials to absorb and contain hazardous substances. This project focuses on minimizing the ecological impact of post-disaster cleanup efforts and promoting sustainable practices in environmental remediation.

20. Climate-resilient Urban Planning

Design urban planning strategies that enhance climate resilience, considering factors such as rising sea levels, extreme weather events , and urban heat islands. This project aims to create sustainable and adaptive urban environments that can withstand and recover from the impacts of climate-related disasters.

How to Implement Disaster Management Project Ideas

Implementing successful disaster management projects requires careful planning and collaboration.

  • Collaborate with local authorities and experts to ensure the projects align with community needs.
  • Leverage technology for project execution, incorporating innovative solutions for more effective disaster management.
  • Involve the community in project planning and execution, fostering a sense of ownership and ensuring sustainability.

Challenges in Disaster Management Projects

Despite the numerous benefits, students may face challenges in executing disaster management project ideas.

  • Limited resources, including funding and access to technology, may hinder project implementation.
  • Coordination issues between students, faculty, and external stakeholders can impede progress.
  • Overcoming resistance to change within the community may require effective communication and engagement strategies.

In summary, the journey through disaster management project ideas transcends the traditional realms of education. Beyond the acquisition of practical skills and knowledge, students emerge with a profound sense of responsibility, understanding their role in shaping resilient communities. These projects instill a mindset that goes beyond the individual, fostering a collective spirit of community engagement and support. As we confront the challenges of an ever-evolving and unpredictable world, the significance of nurturing these qualities in students cannot be overstated. It’s not just about preparing for disasters; it’s about cultivating a generation equipped to lead, collaborate, and adapt, ensuring a future where communities stand strong in the face of adversity.

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Disaster Management Project Ideas & Topics in 2024

Disaster Management Project Ideas & Topics in 2024

Disaster can take many shapes. The repercussions affected individuals have to bear are often grim, be it human-made disasters that often arise due to human errors, industrial explosions, or natural disasters, such as earthquakes and droughts. 

Researchers indicate that as many as 6,800 natural disasters occur every year globally. Furthermore, almost 45,000 individuals worldwide die yearly due to such natural disasters. 

That is why proper disaster management is necessary to help recover and restore operations after a major disaster or crisis. A proper disaster management project can significantly minimise the impact of disasters on organisations, communities, and infrastructure. 

Mentioned below are a few key considerations and features of disaster management projects . While learning about disaster manager for projects, you’ll further navigate how to battle such situations with expert agility and empathy. 

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Planning and Implementation

Planning and implementing disaster management projects require a structured approach to ensure effective response and mitigation in the face of various disasters and emergencies. The first and foremost step in this stage is identifying potential hazards and risks that could lead to disasters. Based on that, you can assess the community’s vulnerabilities and assets to these hazards.

Following this, it is essential to design a comprehensive plan outlining the responsibilities and roles of different phases of disaster management. A multidisciplinary team with expertise in disaster management must also be assembled to ensure proper implementation of the whole plan. 

Cash Flow and Budget

Similar to planning and implementation, cash flow and budget are also equally important for disaster management projects. Proper allocation and management of financial resources help to ensure that disaster response and recovery are executed efficiently and effectively. You will be entrusted with different crucial duties as a project manager during this stage. Such include,

  • Determining the overall budget for project work on disaster management by considering all expenses.
  • Allocating funds to different phases based on priority.
  • Identifying the financial resources required for various activities, including equipment procurement, medical supplies, transportation, etc.
  • Setting aside a portion of the fund to meet unexpected expenses in the project.
  • Properly monitoring the expenses to ensure that they are within the specified limit.

With the help of effective financial management , you can enhance the overall success of disaster management initiatives.

Skills Needed

To emerge as a successful disaster management project manager, you require a proper blend of technical and non-technical skills. Alongside, you must also possess the ability to handle complex situations. On that note, here are some of the necessary skills expected of every disaster management project manager.

  • A strong understanding of disaster management principles and mitigation strategies.
  • The ability to remain calm even when under pressure.
  • Strong leadership skills to guide and motivate team members, especially in high-pressure situations.
  • Excellent communication abilities.
  • Ability to quickly identify problems and find the much-required innovative solutions to address them.
  • Ability to make well–informed decisions.
  • Effective networking and collaboration skills to ensure seamless communication.
  • Flexibility in adjusting plans and strategies as disasters change and develop.

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Disaster Management Project Ideas & Topics for Freshers

Below are a few disaster management project ideas , especially for someone who has just ventured into this field.

1. A Study On The Role Of The Government In Disaster Management

City and state disaster management plans are usually designed and implemented by the governing body. This can be a good project idea, especially for freshers. You can explore which department is responsible for designing the plans, when this particular body was created, and how.

2. An Assessment of Communication Techniques That Can Be Used In Disaster Management

When a disaster occurs, communication is the first thing to get disrupted. Conduct thorough research on how individuals communicate with each other when faced with such an event. You can also highlight the details of the communication methods used, their advantages and disadvantages.

3. Disaster Resilient Infrastructure Design

This can be another interesting project work on disaster management that explores architectural designs for infrastructures that can withstand natural disasters. You can develop innovative ideas about earthquake-resilient buildings, flood-resistant urban planning, storm-resistant roofs, and more.

4. The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster Factors

One of the main reasons the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred was because NASA put greater emphasis on the project’s time frame instead of the quality standards. In-depth research citing the possible cause of this unfortunate event and how it could have been prevented can turn out to be a good project idea.

5. Disaster Management: Risk Reduction Education Program

Design a curriculum and materials for an education program focused on disaster risk reduction. You can include interactive workshops, presentations, and even interactive sessions to raise awareness about disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. 

Elevate your skills with a prestigious MS in Data Science program offered by Liverpool John Moores University in collaboration with upGrad to further leverage its utility and grant the required technological help across environmental catastrophes like these. 

Disaster Management Project Ideas & Topics for Experts

Let’s take a look at some interesting disaster management project ideas for experts.

A Study On The Negative Impacts Of Flooding And Plans To Reduce The Occurrence of the Same.

This topic aims to find all the negative impacts that flooding causes in a given area and also evaluate some strategic ways to reduce the occurrence of this catastrophe. In addition, you can highlight some of the main reasons why flooding occurs in certain areas. 

A Study On The Relationship Between Cultural Diversity and Disaster Preparedness

Cultural diversity undoubtedly plays a crucial role in shaping community disaster preparedness efforts. Through this topic, you can shed light on the intricate relationship between cultural diversity and disaster preparedness, exploring how cultural factors influence disaster awareness, response, and resilience. 

Top Management Skills to Learn

Exploring disaster resilient urban planning.

The goal of this project idea is to come up with innovative plans for designing cities that can withstand various disaster types. You can incorporate various effective strategies to enhance disaster resilience. A few examples might include green infrastructure, smart building designs, and efficient transportation systems. 

An Assessment of Post-Disaster Mental Health Support

Disasters undoubtedly take quite a heavy toll on an individual’s mental health and psychological well-being. In extreme cases, it can also lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. As mentioned, a study that focuses on developing and evaluating effective mental health resources to address these issues can be an interesting topic, especially for experts.

Our Top Management Articles

With programs like upGrad’s MS in Computer Science , experts can upskill and provide the required technical support demanded under grim situations like these.

How Disaster Management Projects Will Help

A disaster management plan serves as a preventative plan that helps to reduce the harmful effects of a disaster such as a hurricane or an earthquake. By devising such a plan before a disaster strikes, you can prepare your organisation to meet disaster as it comes. Furthermore, it will also help to minimise damage and enhance community resilience and preparedness. 

Disaster management plans also help to promote awareness, coordination, and collaboration among stakeholders, thus empowering individuals to handle crises more effectively. They ultimately contribute to safeguarding lives and fostering a safer and more resilient society. 

Explore the array of  Management Courses offered by upGrad.

The global significance of disaster management projects has grown as climate change causes increasingly frequent and severe disasters. These programmes have a vital role in promoting public knowledge of potential hazards, techniques for mitigating their impact, and how to respond quickly in times of crisis. Overall, disaster management projects are instrumental in empowering individuals to take proactive measures to protect themselves and their communities. 

Furthermore, rapid technological innovations have also played a crucial role in enhancing these disaster management plans. For example, the integration of artificial intelligence has revolutionised how we predict, respond to, and recover from natural and man-made disasters. 

Check out the MS in Machine Learning and AI program offered by Liverpool John Moores University in collaboration with upGrad to further navigate how technology offers positive support under climate-drawn crises like natural disasters. 


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Planning and executing a project, especially in a field like disaster management, requires careful consideration, research, and collaboration. It is always advisable to start by first choosing a relevant topic and conducting thorough research on the chosen topic. Students can also take the help of multiple research papers, government reports, and academic journals that are available online. Once the project plan and a clear and concise objective have been devised, students can collect data and use various tools to analyse the gathered information.

One of the many goals of disaster management projects is to educate individuals about potential hazards, promote proactive measures, and foster a sense of collective responsibility. They provide communities with accurate and relevant information related to various types of disasters, their causes, and their potential impact. In addition to this, disaster management projects also help communities develop preparedness plans that outline the necessary actions to take before, during, and after a disaster strikes.

You must consider five crucial components when working on a disaster management project. Those include prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

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Risk Management Dissertation Ideas

Published by Owen Ingram at January 2nd, 2023 , Revised On August 18, 2023

Identifying and assessing risks in various life situations is the focus of risk management dissertation topics. The key focus of risk management research topics is on risk prevention and risk mitigation. This field is growing in popularity among students every day because of the need for businesses and organisations to prevent and manage risks as part of their damage control strategies.

The decision of what to write about for your dissertation can be difficult. But there is no need to panic yet because you’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for risk management dissertation topics .

For Your Consideration, Here Are Some Excellent Risk Management Dissertation Ideas.

  • Investigating the relationship between risk management and organizational performance.
  • A review of the literature on the effects of decision support on risk management strategies in business contexts.
  • How do insurance companies approach risk management in their organizations? Is it fair, or do some changes need to be made to improve it?
  • Earthquake risk management should concentrate on potential barriers and opportunities.
  • A descriptive analysis of the relationship between earthquake risk management and earthquake insurance.
  • How social and environmental factors relate to risk management, either directly or indirectly.
  • A review of empirical evidence on long-term risk management.
  • Geotechnical risk management: a comparison of developed and developing countries.
  • Investigating the guidelines and principles related to the risk management domain.
  • The impact of the relationship between key individuals and business concepts, as well as the degree to which risk management tools are related.
  • Investigating the connection between consumer safety and risk management.
  • A quantitative study focuses on the factors for optimizing risk management in services.
  • A detailed review of empirical evidence for a futuristic analysis of the risk management domain.
  • Which of the following factors is a business’s most important risk management?
  • Smart grid security risk management is a new area to research.
  • Investigating the risk management strategies used in organizations in the UK.
  • A correlational study of risk management and population health.
  • Investigating the relationship between supply chain risk management and performance measurement.
  • International comparison of traditional versus modern risk management strategies.
  • A review of the literature on an international disaster risk management system.
  • A descriptive analysis of risk management strategies in the pharmaceutical development industry.
  • A correlational analysis of the relationship between risk perception and risk management.
  • Focus on potential challenges and interventions in enterprise risk management.
  • Risk management and big data in engineering and science projects.
  • A review of empirical evidence on community-based disaster risk management.
  • Portfolio risk management should emphasize the significance of six sigma quality principles.
  • Using financial tools and operational methods to integrate supply chain risk management.
  • Discovering risk management’s practical applications in Third World countries. Risk Management in a Supply Chain: How Have Current Trends in Global Supply Chain Management Influenced the Evolution of Risk-Management Strategies?
  • Critical Success Factors for Financial Services Organizations Implementing an Operational Management System.

Nothing is more critical to a business than managing risks, whether large or small and bringing positive results to their customers. There is no doubt that the course will be interesting, and you will be able to find topics to write about using research methods such as diversity. Get expert assistance with your dissertation topics by placing an order for our dissertation topic and outline service today. You can take inspiration from the above-mentioned risk management dissertation ideas as well.

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How to find dissertation topics about risk management.

To find risk management dissertation topics:

  • Study industry challenges.
  • Explore emerging risks.
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  • Review risk frameworks.
  • Consider regulatory changes.
  • Select a specific risk aspect or sector that intrigues you.

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Disaster risk management

Disaster risk management is the application of disaster risk reduction policies and strategies to prevent new disaster risk, reduce existing disaster risk and manage residual risk, contributing to the strengthening of resilience and reduction of disaster losses.

Annotation: Disaster risk management actions can be distinguished between prospective disaster risk management, corrective disaster risk management and compensatory disaster risk management, also called residual risk management.

  • Prospective disaster risk management activities address and seek to avoid the development of new or increased disaster risks. They focus on addressing disaster risks that may develop in future if disaster risk reduction policies are not put in place. Examples are better land-use planning or disaster-resistant water supply systems.
  • Corrective disaster risk management activities address and seek to remove or reduce disaster risks which are already present and which need to be managed and reduced now. Examples are the retrofitting of critical infrastructure or the relocation of exposed populations or assets.
  • Compensatory disaster risk management activities strengthen the social and economic resilience of individuals and societies in the face of residual risk that cannot be effectively reduced. They include preparedness, response and recovery activities, but also a mix of different financing instruments, such as national contingency funds, contingent credit, insurance and reinsurance and social safety nets.
  • Community-based disaster risk management promotes the involvement of potentially affected communities in disaster risk management at the local level. This includes community assessments of hazards, vulnerabilities and capacities, and their involvement in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of local action for disaster risk reduction.
  • Local and indigenous peoples’ approach to disaster risk management is the recognition and use of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge and practices to complement scientific knowledge in disaster risk assessments and for the planning and implementation of local disaster risk management.
  • Disaster risk management plans set out the goals and specific objectives for reducing disaster risks together with related actions to accomplish these objectives. They should be guided by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015‑2030 and considered and coordinated within relevant development plans, resource allocations and programme activities. National-level plans need to be specific to each level of administrative responsibility and adapted to the different social and geographical circumstances that are present. The time frame and responsibilities for implementation and the sources of funding should be specified in the plan. Linkages to sustainable development and climate change adaptation plans should be made where possible.

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Disaster risk management in the Knowledge Base


Comprehensive Disaster and Climate Risk Management

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Risk governance

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  • Understanding disaster risk
  • Key concepts

Disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management

The policy objective of anticipating and reducing risk is called disaster risk reduction (DRR). Although often used interchangeably with DRR, disaster risk management (DRM) can be thought of as the implementation of DRR, since it describes the actions that aim to achieve the objective of reducing risk.

Adapted from UNISDR Global Assessment Report 2015

project topics on disaster risk management

Disaster risk is an indicator of poor development, so reducing disaster risk requires integrating DRR policy and DRM practice into sustainable development goals.

What is disaster risk reduction?

Historically, dealing with disasters focused on emergency response, but towards the end of the 20th century it was increasingly recognised that disasters are not natural (even if the associated hazard is) and that it is only by reducing and managing conditions of hazard, exposure and vulnerability that we can prevent losses and alleviate the impacts of disasters. Since we cannot reduce the severity of natural hazards, the main opportunity for reducing risk lies in reducing vulnerability and exposure. Reducing these two components of risk requires identifying and reducing the underlying drivers of risk, which are particularly related to poor economic and urban development choices and practice, degradation of the environment, poverty and inequality and climate change, which create and exacerbate conditions of  hazard ,  exposure  and  vulnerability . Addressing these underlying risk drivers will reduce disaster risk, lessen the impacts of climate change and, consequently, maintain the sustainability of development.

We need to manage risks, not just disasters.

DRR is a part of sustainable development, so it must involve every part of society, government, non-governmental organizations and the professional and private sector. It therefore requires a people-centred and multi-sector approach, building resilience to multiple, cascading and interacting hazards and creating a culture of prevention and resilience. Consequently DRM includes strategies designed to:

  • avoid the construction of new risks
  • address pre-existing risks
  • share and spread risk to prevent disaster losses being absorbed by other development outcomes and creating additional poverty

Although DRM includes disaster preparedness and response activities, it is about much more than managing disasters.

Successful DRR results from the combination of top-down, institutional changes and strategies, with bottom-up, local and community-based approaches. DRM programmes should not be standalone but instead be integrated within development planning and practice, since disasters are an indicator of failed or skewed development, of unsustainable economic and social processes, and of ill-adapted societies. Approaches need to address the different layers of risk (from  intensive to extensive risk ), underlying risk drivers, as well as be tailored to local contexts. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to DRM, but there exist a number of approaches and frameworks, which have been effectively implemented to reduce disaster risk. But, before being able to reduce risk, we need to understand the hazards, and the exposure and vulnerability of people and assets to those hazards.

How do we reduce risk?

project topics on disaster risk management

Disaster risk management involves activities related to:

Activities and measures to avoid existing and new disaster risks (often less costly than disaster relief and response). For instance, relocating exposed people and assets away from a hazard area. See a related story:  Managed retreat of settlements remains a tough call even as homes flood and coasts erode .

The lessening or limitation of the adverse impacts of hazards and related disasters. For instance, constructing flood defences, planting trees to stabilize slopes and implementing strict land use and building construction codes. See a related story:  Mitigation saves: A resilient runway at Portland International Airport could save up to $50 for every mitigation dollar invested .

The process of formally or informally shifting the financial consequences of particular risks from one party to another whereby a household, community, enterprise or state authority will obtain resources from the other party after a disaster occurs, in exchange for ongoing or compensatory social or financial benefits provided to that other party. For instance, insurance. See a related story:  Developing disaster risk finance in Morocco: Leveraging private markets for sovereign risk transfer .


The knowledge and capacities of governments, professional response and recovery organisations, communities and individuals to effectively anticipate, respond to, and recover from the impacts of likely, imminent or current hazard events or conditions. For instance, installing early warning systems, identifying evacuation routes and preparing emergency supplies. See a related story:  New Minecraft world from NRMA Insurance teaches Aussie kids the importance of bushfire preparedness . 

Source of text: UNDRR, 2017 Simulation exercises (SIMEX) play an important role in promoting a culture of disaster risk reduction and they are a preparedness activity. More information can be found  here 

Implementation of these activities and measures is rarely done in isolation and includes a number of associated activities, including:

  • Identification and measuring disaster risk
  • Education and knowledge development
  • Informing people about their risk (awareness raising)
  • Incorporating DRM into national planning and investment
  • Strengthening institutional and legislative arrangements
  • Providing financial protection for people and businesses at risk (finance and contingency planning)
  • Integrating DRR across multiple sectors, including health, environment, etc.

Simulation exercises (SIMEX) play an important role in promoting a culture of disaster risk reduction and they are a preparedness activity. More information can be found  here 

Activities for reducing risk can be described as structural, for instance land use planning and implementation of building codes, and non-structural, for instance awareness raising, policy-making and legislation. How governments, civil society and other actors organise DRM, for example through institutional arrangements, legislation and decentralisation, and mechanisms for participation and accountability is termed risk governance. There is clear evidence to suggest that low-income countries with  weak governance  are more vulnerable and less resilient to disaster risk.

Fundamentally, DRR succeeds in reducing risk by building the strengths, attributes and resources available within a community, society or organization – collectively known as their  capacity . DRM activities are designed to increase the resilience of people, communities, society and systems to resist, absorb, accommodate and to recover from and improve well-being in the face of multiple hazards. Activities for reducing and managing risks can therefore provide a way for building resilience to other risks. In addition to development, DRM should therefore be integrated across a number of sectors, including climate change and conflict.

Identifying and understanding risk: the foundation of risk reduction

Awareness, identification, understanding and measurement of disaster risks are all clearly fundamental underpinnings of disaster risk management (UNISDR, 2015b). Disaster risk reduction is about decisions and choices, including a lack of, so risk information has a role in five key areas of decision making:

Risk identification

Because the damages and losses caused by historical disasters are often not widely known, and because the potential damages and losses that could arise from future disasters (including infrequent but high-impact events) may not be known at all, DRM is given a low priority. Appropriate communication of robust risk information at the right time can raise awareness and trigger action. See a related story:  GEM releases five national and three regional earthquake models for public good application .

Risk reduction

Hazard and risk information may be used to inform a broad range of activities to reduce risk, from improving building codes and designing risk reduction measures (such as flood and storm surge protection), to carrying out macro-level assessments of the risks to different types of buildings (for prioritizing investment in reconstruction and retrofitting, for example). See a related story:  4 ways to reduce disproportionate flood risk and build resilience for all communities .

An understanding of the geographic area affected, along with the intensity and frequency of different hazard events, is critical for planning evacuation routes, creating shelters, and running preparedness drills. Providing a measure of the impact of different hazard events—potential number of damaged buildings, fatalities and injuries, secondary hazards—makes it possible to establish detailed and realistic plans for better response to disasters, which can ultimately reduce the severity of adverse natural events. See a related story:  Indian cities prepare for floods with predictive technology .

Conducting simulation exercises

Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response requires an in-depth knowledge of risks and events for which to prepare for.

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Financial protection

Disaster risk analysis was born out of the financial and insurance sector’s need to quantify the risk of comparatively rare high-impact natural hazard events. As governments increasingly seek to manage their  sovereign financial risk  or support programs that manage individual financial risks (e.g., micro-insurance or household earthquake insurance). See a related story:  Micro insurance company’s evacuation insurance against disasters .

Resilient reconstruction

Risk assessment can play a critical role in impact modelling before an event strikes (in the days leading up to a cyclone, for example), or it can provide initial and rapid estimates of human, physical, and economic loss in an event’s immediate aftermath. Moreover, risk information for resilient reconstruction needs to be available before an event occurs, since after the event there is rarely time to collect the information needed to inform resilient design and land-use plans. See a related story:  3 ways to build back better after a tsunami .

Source: adapted from GFDRR, 2014a

project topics on disaster risk management

If those exposed to hazards are unaware of the risks they face, it is difficult to see how or why households, businesses or governments would invest in reducing their risk levels. However, while risk awareness may be a precondition, the importance people attach to managing their risks can only be understood in the context of the full range of social, economic, territorial and environmental constraints and opportunities they face - see the story of Ratnapura and the Chao Phraya River below.

We have over 30 years of research into disaster risk, but much of this is not available in a form that is understandable or useful to those who need it the most. There is therefore a need for risk scientists and researchers to shift their focus to the production of risk information that is understandable and actionable for different kinds of users: in other words, risk knowledge. Such a shift requires more collaboration and partnerships between scientists and researchers and those involved in DRR, ranging from governments to local communities.

Governments need to invest in the collection, management and dissemination of risk information, including disaster loss and impact statistics, hazard models, exposure databases and vulnerability information. At the same time, they need to put standards and mechanisms in place to ensure openness and transparency so that users not only have access to the information they need but are aware of its underlying assumptions and limitations. The generation of understandable and actionable risk information needs to be particularly sensitive to extensive risk, which, because it is configured to a large extent by social, economic and environmental vulnerability, can be reduced effectively through risk management and sustainable development practices.

Heavy flooding from monsoon rain and tide from river in Dohar, Bangladesh (2016)

Are we reducing disaster risk?

While we have made some progress in reducing disaster mortality associated with intensive risks, increasing exposure of people and economic assets means that mortality and economic losses from extensive risk are trending up and absolute global economic losses from disasters are increasing, although not relative to GDP. Some low and middle-income countries may not have the financial resilience to accommodate the likely average annual losses from future disasters, which threaten the very economic existence of many small island development states.

We’ve been generating risk faster than we have been reducing it.

More needs to be done to prevent new risks, which are already emerging owing to increasing urbanisation, the threat of climate change and other risk drivers. In an increasingly interconnected world, we are seeing that disasters can also result in synchronous failures. Development can be sustainable, it is just a question of whether we can change our approach in time to prevent disaster risk from reaching dangerous levels.

We have made more progress in managing disasters than in reducing our disaster risk.

Over the last 10 years, there has been significant progress in strengthening disaster preparedness, response and early warning capacities and in reducing specific risks, according to the HFA Monitor. However, progress has been limited in most countries when it comes to managing the underlying risks.

Although we know how to reduce disaster risk, there is often a lack of incentive to do so.

Both individuals, governments and businesses tend to discount low-probability future losses and seem reluctant to invest in DRM. Despite the magnitude of disaster costs, reducing risks is often perceived as less of a priority than fiscal stability, unemployment or inflation. New evidence demonstrates, however that the opportunity cost of disasters is high and that many low and middle-income countries, and small island development states are financially unable to cope with the predicted future losses from disasters while also maintaining their capacity to develop. In other words, they are not resilient.

The costs and benefits of disaster risk management need to become fully encoded into public and private investment at all levels, into the financial system and into the design of risk-sharing and social protection mechanisms. Cost-benefit analyses can be expanded to highlight the trade-offs implicit in each decision, including the downstream benefits and avoided costs in terms of reduced poverty and inequality, environmental sustainability, economic development and social progress. They can also help to identify who retains the risks, who bears the costs and who reaps the benefits. Such a broad approach to cost-benefit analysis can increase the visibility and attractiveness of investments in disaster risk reduction.

The good news is that we can achieve great things when we invest in DRR. There are countless success stories of reducing disaster risk ranging from community-based participatory approaches to the global reduction in disaster mortality associated with intensive risks.

However, we need to recognize that the impact of some DRM measures may not be immediate. It may take decades for the outcome of improved planning regulations and building standards to translate into reduced disaster losses, as a critical mass of new, risk-sensitive building and urban development has to be achieved.

The future of DRR requires that we assess the costs and benefits of DRM, reform risk governance, move from risk information to knowledge and strengthen accountability.

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Helping Latin America and the Caribbean manage disaster risks and foster resilience in the region.

Panoramic view of a river running through a valley. Sustainable development - Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

We seek to fully mainstream disaster risk management into sustainable economic development planning in Latin America and the Caribbean. We create knowledge that generates awareness and tools for informed decision making.

Landscape with trees and mountains. Natural resources - Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

There are two complementary approaches to disaster risks management: a preventive approach before the disaster and a responsive approach after the disaster occurs: 

  • Preventive approach: The purpose is to prevent or minimize the impact of natural hazards on the population, physical assets, natural capital, and economic activities. Actions under this approach include four categories: (1) understanding disaster risk; (2) strengthening governance; (3) investing in resilience; and (4) enhancing preparedness for response and resilient recovery. 
  • Responsive approach: Aims to channel effective humanitarian assistance, ensuring a rapid restoration of essentialbasic services, and achieving a resilient recovery of the affected physical assets, natural capital, and economic activities. These actions include three categories: (1) response; (2) rehabilitation; and (3) recovery. 

We conduct disaster risk assessments and develop disaster risk indicators to help countries identify their level of risk to natural hazards, prioritize the most effective policy actions to reduce their vulnerability , and monitor and evaluate their performance in disaster risk management. 

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We work with countries to better prepare for emergencies and improve their emergency response. We play an important role in helping them to revitalize their development efforts post-disaster and avoid rebuilding vulnerability.  

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We assist countries by designing and implementing disaster risk management plans focused on risk identification, risk reduction, disaster preparedness , and financial protection.  

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We help countries improve their fiscal and budgetary planning to invest in resilience and respond to natural hazards.

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We contribute with technical expertise, sharing of best practices, and specialized training to develop institutional capacity within the public sector to improve the financial management of contingent public liabilities associated with disasters. 

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Risk Monitor is a digital tool developed by the Inter-American Development Bank to further understand disaster risk and advance disaster risk management for member countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. It is a powerful data analysis tool that includes information on indicators that measure crucial aspects related to disaster risk management at the national level, as well as a repository of disaster risk profiles for multiple hazards, sectors, and countries, a Geographic Information System visualizer to estimate hurricane and earthquake average annual losses at the municipal level, and an online library with the most recent IDB publications in the field of disaster risk management as well as a collection of blog posts crafted by Bank specialists on a diverse array of Disaster Risk Management topics.   

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. But since the 1800s,  human activities have been the main driver of climate change , primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.


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Covid-19 Disaster relief projects management: an exploratory study of critical success factors

  • Published: 26 April 2022
  • Volume 17 , pages 1–12, ( 2024 )

Cite this article

  • Arvind Upadhyay   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-6906-5369 1 ,
  • Maria Jose Perezalonso Hernandez 2 &
  • Krishna Chandra Balodi 3  

4 Citations

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented socio-economic devastation. With widespread displacement of population/ migrants, considerable destruction of property, increase in mortality, morbidity, and poverty, infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics have become global threats requiring a collective response. Project Management is, however, a relatively less explored discipline in the Third Sector, particularly in the domain of humanitarian assistance or exploratory projects. Via a systematic literature review and experts' interviews, this paper explores the essence of humanitarian projects in terms of the challenges encountered and the factors that facilitate or hinder project success during crises like Covid-19. Additionally, the general application of project management in international assistance projects is analysed to determine how project management can contribute to keeping the project orientation humane during a crisis. The analysis reveals that applying project management tools and techniques are beneficial to achieve success in humanitarian assistance projects. However, capturing, codifying, and disseminating the knowledge generated in the process and placing the end-users at the centre of the project life cycle is a prerequisite. While the latter can seem obvious, the findings demonstrate that the inadequate inclusion of beneficiaries is one of the main reasons that prevent positive project outcomes leading to unsustainable outcomes. The key finding of this paper is that the lack of human-centred approaches in project management for humanitarian assistance and development projects is the main reason such projects fail to achieve desired outcomes.

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Avoid common mistakes on your manuscript.

1 Introduction

The destructive capacity of natural and artificial disasters increases continuously, affecting millions of people globally. In 2016, 564.4 million people were reportedly affected by natural disasters, the highest since 2006 (Guha-Sapir et al. 2016 ). The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11, 2020, having around 3 million cases and causing 207,973 deaths (WHO, COVID-19: Situation Report). A Brooking’s report Footnote 1 on socio-economic impact of COVID-19 notes that causing global economy to contract by 3.5 percent it brought about one of the deepest recessions of modern times. According to an ILO report Footnote 2 , COVID-19 led to a loss of 8.8 per cent of global working hours roughly amounting to 255 million full-time jobs in 2020 compared to last quarter to 2019. As of June 2021, the COVID-19 outbreak had spread to 215 countries and territories across six continents causing over 3.9 million deaths. Footnote 3 Given the vulnerability of nations to hazards like Covid-19, International Aid (IA), also known as International Development (ID), has become increasingly important especially for less developed countries. The United Nations (UN) has suggested that the developed economies spend at least 0.7% of their gross national income on international assistance (Myers 2015 ). Much of this assistance ends up financing projects managed by the Third sector, including international, national and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), charities and other voluntary groups (Marlow 2016 ).

NGOs are private organisations characterised by humanitarian objectives "that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interest of the poor, protect the environment, provide essential social services, or undertake community development" (World Bank 1995 ). These organisations are key contributors to international assistance (Morton 2013 ), which is broadly divided into two categories: Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Humanitarian Assistance (HA), also referred to as emergency aid. HA projects have the overall goal of providing an immediate response as fast and effectively as possible. Nevertheless, the time scale and particular goals are less specific because of the spontaneous nature of these events and the available information (Lindell and Prater 2002 ). In this sense, HA projects fall into the category of exploratory projects, for which 'neither the goals nor the means to attaining them are clearly defined' (Lenfle et al. 2019 ). The loose definition of deliverables, the scope, and the recovery scale makes these projects challenging (Walker  2011 ). Additionally, a lack of Project Management (PM), cultural sensitivity, and stakeholder involvement contribute to high failure rates and unsatisfactory performance for these projects (Golini et al. 2015 ).

For exploratory projects, neither the output nor the means to attain it can be established from the beginning. Given their increasingly significant impact, however, it is prudent to develop a scientific understanding of the projects management challenges and success factors for the exploratory projects. Therefore, this research aims to investigate via template analysis of the relevant qualitative data, the ontology of humanitarian aid projects, and the effect that project management implementation could have on their success for such projects. More specifically, we review the literature and case studies on humanitarian projects by NGOs to identify the main challenges in achieving favourable HA project outcomes and factors that promote project success or contribute to project failure. We also explore the PM procedures, tools, and frameworks used for International Development and how these influence the cognitive Footnote 4 aspects of humanitarian projects; and revisit the link between PM and human-centred design in the Third Sector. We find that applying project management tools and techniques are beneficial to achieve success in humanitarian assistance projects. However, knowledge generation, storage, and sharing and end-user-centric projects' design and execution throughout the project life cycle are major critical success factors. The findings also highlight that the inadequate consideration of beneficiaries’ identity, expectation, and role is one of the main reasons preventing positive project outcomes from leading to sustainable outcomes. Our findings contribute to the literature in three ways. First, it explores the extension of the application of PM tools and techniques to a much important phenomenon of humanitarian assistance projects, especially during the current Covid-19 crisis. Second, relying on PM and design thinking literature, we explore more pragmatic design and execution choices that bring project output/ deliverables and outcomes closer. Thirdly, through literature review, case studies, and expert interviews, our study highlights some critical success and failure factors in humanitarian assistance projects.s The rest of the paper is organised as follows. Part two presents the literature review, followed by the methodology and findings, followed by the conclusion.

2 Literature review

2.1 crisis and humanitarian aid project management.

Relief projects carry an "acute sense of urgency", and their results are critical to people's livelihood in the affected communities (Steinfort and Walker 2011 ). The challenge is to minimise human suffering and death (Noham and Tzur 2014 ) and do so in an often hostile and uncertain environment, where violence, socio-political instability, disease, other health hazards, panic, and chaos are encountered. Other obstacles include lack-of or poor communication and transportation infrastructures, different cultural norms and rules, complex issues of autonomy and control and managing productive cooperation with governments and other organisations (Steinfort and Walker 2011 ).

According to Bysouth, project management is a relatively new discipline in the Third Sector. Despite the limited information regarding the adoption of PM methodologies by NGOs (Golini et al. 2015 ), several authors agree that PM expertise can be employed as a possible remedy for the poor performance of ID projects (Landoni and Corti 2011 ; Golini and Landoni  2014 ). Moreover, guidelines such as PMDPro and PM4DEV have been developed explicitly for NGO management of these projects (Table 1 ). However, recent empirical studies note widespread adoption of few PM tools, viz., Logical Framework (LogFrame) and Progress Reports and almost none of few such as Earned Value Management System and Issue Logs (Golini et al. 2015 ). LogFrame provides the goals, measures and expected resources for each level of the means-to-end logical path, laying out the way between vision, overall and specific objectives, desired outputs and outcomes through its detailed breakdown of the chain of causality among activities. Moreover, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) supports learning, governance and performance accountability (Steinfort and Walker 2011 ). It also includes the evaluation criteria- relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability- to ensure appropriate monitoring and control.

Research has shown that lack of expertise and planning (Alexander 2002 ), poor coordination, duplication of services, and inefficient use of resources (Kopinak 2013 ), inadequate beneficiary involvement has hindered positive outcomes (Brown and Winter 2010 ). Coupled with Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development (LRRD) omission, this has often provided unsustainable solutions (Kopinak 2013 ). These interspersed layers demonstrate that humanitarian management cannot be improvised and that planning is relevant at all stages of the Disaster Cycle (Alexander 2002 ; Steinfort and Walker 2011 ). The professionalisation of humanitarian response is thus inevitable due to the adding layers of complexity that resulted from growing levels of stakeholders and poor management skills.

2.2 Defining project success

Project management focuses on delivering change via unique sets of concerted actions (Tantor 2010 ). Unlike general management, where almost everything is routine, almost everything is an exception (Meredith et al. 2014 ). Each project is unique and temporary, with a definite start and end (Tayntor 2010 ). The end of a project can be defined when the desired output is delivered or when the output can no longer be delivered, or when there is no more need for the project. These endeavours aim to create a unique product or deliver a unique service or result. It is possible to have repetitive elements, but repetition does not take away the uniqueness of a project because the mix of elements is unique to each project. Therefore, projects can also be considered generators of value (Winter et al. 2006 ) and explicit and tacit learning, as their uniqueness provides a foundation for capturing new knowledge (Zollo and Winter 2002 ).

The definition of project success is ambiguous due to the different characteristics, perspectives, interest, and objectives of the stakeholders involved (Fig 2 ). Nonetheless, the essential requirement of project success is achieving the project objectives/outputs within a defined budget, quality, and time. Project output can be defined as the product, service or result that the project was expected to generate. Furthermore, many authors suggest that project success is multidimensional, and that project outcome should also be considered when determining success (Rodrigues et al. 2014 ). That is particularly relevant in the case of exploratory post-crisis projects, for which neither the output nor the means to attain it can be established from the beginning (Lenfle 2014 ). This multidimensional outlook reflects project success and the project ' manager's responsibilities, including managing time, cost, quality and human resource, integration, communication, project design, procurement, and risk management (Radujkovic and Sjekavica 2017 ). The uniqueness of each project also requires the project manager to be creative, flexible, and highly adaptable. Special skills such as conflict resolution and negotiation are also required due to the high level of discontent present in these projects.

Project management success does not guarantee that the project output will lead to a successful outcome (Steinfort and Walker 2011 ; Kopinak 2013 ). The project outcome is the change produced as a consequence of the delivery of such output. Unfortunately, in HA projects, outputs are often delivered accordingly but still fail to provide a successful outcome. Project success might be initially perceived as achieved in such cases, yet project outcome might demonstrate the opposite (Brown and Winter 2010 ). This occurs when hard Footnote 5 and soft Footnote 6 services fail to transform the output into a functioning outcome (Steinfort and Walker 2011 ); perhaps because the output lacked the infrastructure to support its use or because it failed to consider the 'beneficiaries' needs, culture, behaviour, the context of their lives (Brown and Winter 2010 ). The latter has been recognised as a consequence of the ambiguous definition of target customer or beneficiary in HA projects, leading to their exclusion in the project design phases and considerable project execution errors (Golini et al. 2015 ). To this end, the literature suggests referring to the end-user as a consumer over the word beneficiary". Although both terms may be used interchangeably, researchers suggest that the latter can infer that recipient who do not pay for the services shall have unquestionable gratitude and, therefore, no right to choose or be informed, leading to poor recipient involvement projects. Steinfort and Walker ( 2011 ) argue that project success can be linked with the degree of customer value generated from the project. The real value is the output combinations that lead to a specific outcome, which allows the stakeholders to perceive that the project deliverables have been achieved. However, the natural outcome of the project is to generate customer value. The diversity of stakeholders and the different perception of values (Rodrigues et al. 2014 ) and a lack-of or poor inclusion of beneficiaries in project design (Golini et al. 2015 ) further hinder consensus in defining HA projects success.

2.3 Critical success factors

Planning is considered desirable in achieving success, especially among HA projects during Crisis like Covid-19 (Taylor 2010 ). Plans must be robust and granular yet flexible enough to adapt to different circumstances. NGOs and other organisations such as civil protection agencies have set up measures of natural disaster response based on their magnitude, recurrence, physical and human consequences, and the duration of their impact. Additionally, technology has become a vital tool in managing disasters (Alexander 2002 ). It was evident during the Covid-19 crisis as to how the biotechnology, data storage and analytical technology, and communication technology allowed the primary responders, frontline workers, and researchers to work together to arrive at standard operating procedures and share them with relevant stakeholders across the globe in a relatively short time. International recognition and acceptance of a set of common principles are essential to stimulate humanitarian aid project design, innovation, accountability and effectiveness, and the implementation of best tools and approaches.

Despite the diversity in stakeholders, antecedents and consequences, and desired outcomes (Alexander 2002 ), the lessons and results captured from previous projects can serve as a blueprint for planning and implementation (Lampel et al. 2009 ). Explicit knowledge can be expressed and formalised into frameworks or formal " know-how" procedures and instructions, which can later be integrated into the organisation/field/team methods. On the other hand, tacit knowledge, the skills, or experience acquired through practice, may be shared through training programs/ orientations or on-the-job simulations and training. Each form of knowledge can serve as a tool to acquire the other; however, they cannot convert into one another. Understanding these epistemological dimensions and their interplay provides organisations and teams with the ability to learn, innovate and develop competencies that can be used in future projects (Cook and Brown 1999 ). Additionally, the knowledge seeker must be careful of the subjective interpretation of success factors and avoid "superstitious learning" (Zollo and Winter 2002 ). Preconceived notions can be easily generated, and projects often falter because the needs of the beneficiaries have not been fully contemplated.

Human-centred approaches such as design thinking are considered a viable solution to integrate multidisciplinary knowledge, consumer insights and recognise the infrastructure needed to support the output provided. Design-thinking complements the learning process both through the collection of knowledge and its application. Not only does it tap into capacities that conventional problem-solving practices overlook, but also it brings balance between the rational/analytical side of thinking and the emotional/intuitive counterpart (Brown and Winter 2010 ). This approach has contributed significantly to ID project success and has been adopted by UNICEF, The World Food Programme, and the International Rescue Committee. Additionally, companies such as Frog and IDEO continue collaborating with NGOs to integrate this approach in development projects and programmes.

Programme thinking can also be explored to drive project success, as a given programme may involve coordinating multiple projects to achieve a specific outcome. In this sense, projects can focus specifically on their particular output whilst the programme can ensure that the outcome is delivered. In addition, projects can start and end under the programme umbrella. However, both approaches are complementary, and not all projects are part of a programme (OGC 2007 ). Lastly, given that the distinction between HA and ODA is less straightforward in practice (Fink and Redaelli  2011 ), LRRD has been identified as a model that could bridge the grey zone between both sides of the international assistance spectrum (Kopinak 2013 ). Programmes, rather than singled out projects, can be used to provide a successful LRRD as they can coordinate and oversee the implementation of a set of related projects to deliver an outcome greater than the sum of its parts (OGC 2007 ).

The literature review suggests that Project Management is a relatively new discipline in the Third Sector. Its methodologies have been progressively adopted and recognised as a possible remedy for poor ID performance (Landoni and Corti  2011 ; Golini and Landoni  2014 ). Logical Framework and Monitoring and Evaluation are widely adopted PM tools by NGOs (Golini et al. 2015 ; Steinfort and Walker 2011 ). Poor planning and coordination, inadequate beneficiary involvement and omission of LRRD have often provided unsustainable/unsuccessful outcomes. (Alexander 2002 ; Kopinak 2013 ) Project management, thus, alone is not enough to deliver a successful outcome. Outputs need to be supported by hard and soft services, and beneficiaries must be considered in project design phases (Steinfort and Walker 2011 ; Alexander 2002 ; Kopinak 2013 ). Projects generate value and learning. The customer value generated from the project should be considered to determine project success (Rodrigues et al. 2014 ). Design thinking complements the learning process both through the collection of knowledge and its application. Human-centred approaches increase the possibility to create sustainable solutions and achieve success by incorporating interpersonal elements into the existing paradigm (Winter et al. 2006 ; Brown and Winter 2010 ). The distinction between HA and ODA is not always straightforward. LRRD, Design Thinking and programme implementation can help ID projects deliver successful and sustainable outcomes (Fink and Redaelli  2011 ). These arguments lead to the following proposition:

Project management can contribute to HA projects by providing better planning, coordination and knowledge generation. PM can improve the outcome of HA projects; however, it is not the only success factor. Infrastructure (hard and soft services) must be available to support the project outcome Footnote 7 , and most importantly, such outcome should align with the broader culture and needs of the beneficiaries. Design thinking offers PM ways of including the end-users, ensuring outcomes are fit for purpose and that customer value is generated.

3 Methodology

Primary and secondary data were used to explore the effects that implementation of Project Management tools and techniques could have on the success of humanitarian projects. First, secondary qualitative data was explored via a systematic literature review. The review provided a synthesis of extant knowledge and helped create an expert database for conducting interviews as primary research  (Hasson and Keeney 2011 ). Given the exploratory nature of this research, we interviewed a limited number of experts (mentioned in Table 2 ) in the fields of PM, ID and design thinking. Given that the purpose was to explore in-depth the expert's views on humanitarian aid and their particular field, discuss their findings, and find additional study paths, the interviews were kept unstructured. Each interview lasted approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) was used for the data analysis to aid continuity, transparency and methodological rigour. Via Nvivo, the literature was coded following a template analysis, which combines deductive and inductive approaches. This meant that the literature could be coded using predetermined information (like the challenges or success factors identified in the literature review) and at the same time amend or add codes as more data was collected and analysed. This approach permitted exploring key themes and identifying emerging issues. Once all the codes were established, MS-Excel was used to measure the data from the 33 sources selected and display the data to facilitate comparisons through graphs. Ordinary scales from zero to five (from least relevant to most relevant) were used to rank-order the codes (variables) according to the importance that each author gave to each category (Sekaran and Bougie 2016 ).

Given that the authors did not focus solely on any of the variables, none of the categories ranked five, and most were rated two or three. Additionally, the graphs included the number of journals that mentioned the categories rated to give the audience a clearer view of each variable's " real" frequency. Finally, to prove reliability, the consistency of the rankings was confirmed by four volunteers unrelated to the study. These volunteers were given samples of 10 different journals. This exercise helped find and correct mistakes and strengthen validity. It also served as a point of discussion regarding the findings of this research.

There was not enough literature regarding project management in ID projects (Diallo and Thuillier 2005 ; Golini and Landoni 2014 ), including humanitarian projects. To overcome the limitation of data scarcity, the findings on PM applications in ODA projects were considered and later adapted to humanitarian projects. It was a straightforward process, given that the main difference between these types of assistance is the spontaneity of the event and the time horizon (Golini and Landoni 2014 ). Similarly, the overall theory on design and innovation was studied and further shaped into its use in the International Development field, focusing on humanitarian relief. The sources selected were published within the last ten years to gather the most recent information. This critical selection included the collection of academic and scientific journals published under the Association of Business School (ABS/AJG) rankings (Table 3 ). In addition, other research databases, like Scopus and Web of Science were also considered, non-ABS/AJG listed journal listed in these databases like The Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, Design Issues Journal, Standford Social Innovation, Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters, UK Department for International Development, Evaluation and Program Planning Journal, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and International Journal of Advanced Intelligence Paradigms were also included, as they provided relevant information and helped overcome the obstacle of the limited available literature. Additional sources include books, conference reports and other official publications that focused on the chosen area.

4 Data analysis and discussion

This section presents the results obtained from the analysis of data described in part three. In line with the initial objectives, Sect.  1 highlights the challenges encountered in HA projects and factors contributing to HA project failure and success. Section 2 reports the benefits that PM brings into this field and the importance of the cognitive process in exploratory projects of this nature. Lastly, Sect. 3 revisits the link between PM and design theory and how human-centred approaches can contribute to sustainable projects.

4.1 Challenges, failure, and success

Figure one illustrates the main challenges in Humanitarian Aid projects. The graph further divides obstacles into four subcategories representing: A) the characteristics of the external environment and uncontrollable factors, B) general management and the "iron" triangle of Time, Cost, and Quality (TCQ), C) human-based management and challenges, and D) others. This categorisation Footnote 8 was derived as a common theme throughout the findings. It continues throughout the graphs of this section to link the commonalities between them and show the importance of PM in each of these levels.

HA challenges are broad[1, A1] Footnote 9 , and they are growing in scale, scope and complexity. All of these challenges are interlinked and often dependent on one another. Complexity[1, A2], for example, encompasses the diversity of time lines[1, B2] roles and stakeholders[1, C2] that must be coordinated in HA projects, adding a layer of difficulty as some of these are not clearly defined. Limited resources[1, A6], including lack of human skills, were the second biggest challenge. They are followed by the complications of assessing impact/quality[B4] given the poor feedback and control mechanisms recognised in this sector. Furthermore, the high number of stakeholders[1, C2] was considered more critical than the unique and unpredictable context in emergency settings[1, A2, A3]. The greater the stakeholder spectrum, the more coordination, communication, needs and requirements[1, C1] to be met; it also increases the opacity of authority lines and responsibilities[1, A2]. It was also discovered that the greater the power distance is between donors and recipients, the harder it is to meet donor requirements[1, C1]. Additionally, high levels of bureaucracy[1, A4] contribute to delays[1, B2], and personal agendas[1, A5] might interfere with project outcomes if, for example, managers were more concerned about their relationship with particular politicians or status in the public/private sector, rather than on the community burden (Diallo and Thuillier 2004 ). Together with the absence of PM methodologies, these challenges usually result in poor project planning, superficial risk management strategies, paucity of accountability and stakeholder involvement, unmotivated project teams, and eventually costing project success (Kelecklaite and Meiliene  2015 ).

Failure factors

Figure two presents additional omissions that not only hinder success but can also lead to project failure. Insufficient culture consideration[2, AC] was regarded as the most relevant contributor to failure. Lack of shared perception between donors, project managers, and end-users can result in poor beneficiary inclusion and omission of community needs during planning and delivery stages. Exclusion of factual information, dishonesty, and lack of transparency[2, A2] came second; these include corruption and political manipulation, shaky government policies and lack of transparency derived from the difficulty of breaking down costs incurred in HA (Kopinak, 2013 ). Finally, lack of or poor PM[2, B1] was one of the most critical factors, mainly as factors mentioned in sections B and C can be managed through this discipline.

Furthermore, resource allocation[2, B2] amongst relief projects has been denounced disproportionately not only in terms of goods and skills but financially; some operations have been "forgotten" as they receive little or no help from donors, while others receive more than is necessary. Next came inappropriate recruitment[2, B3] and flawed risk analysis[2, B4]. Inappropriate recruitment disrupts team functions and service delivery, reflecting negatively on the donor and hindering project management and future finance. Lack of experience also reflects poor cultural perceptions[2, AC], including difficulty adapting to the environment and having an unbalanced view of local values, beliefs, and infrastructure. Finally, inexperience often results in workplace stress, frustration, anger and lack of empathy to the host country.

Success Factors

Figure three identifies that PM[3, B1], lessons captured[3, C5], resource allocation[3, B3], stakeholder management[3, C3], and communication[3, C2] are the key factors to consider to achieve success in HA projects. As the literature review suggested, capturing lessons is critical for success, helping to achieve continuous improvement. Knowledge creation and capture[3, C5] can happen at all stages and levels of the project life cycle. Lessons gained should be transmitted to subsequent projects to prevent the repetition of mistakes (Golini et al. 2015 ). Additionally, managers must know that learning opportunities are missed when managers are reluctant to admit mistakes, leading to losing some donor funding (Marlow  2016 ). Furthermore, PM[3, B1] was equally relevant and given that the PLC is included under this category, it can be inferred that the importance of planning has also been considered. Although communication[3, C2] was not as frequently mentioned, it is a critical success factor as it relates to other categories such as team management, motivation and leadership[3, C1], conflict resolution[3, C4], cultural sensitivity[3, AC1] and in choosing a particular language to refer to the end users[3, AC2]. Lastly, standardisation[3, D] was suggested to improve the application of PM methodologies and obtain more objective results from evaluation and feedback mechanisms. It was also significant to better understand success and failure contributing factors[2, B5], as well as to improve finance and resource allocation[2, B2], prioritisation of stakeholder needs[2, AC], ethical practices[3, A2], and reduction of coordination problems[7, B1, C1] and time frames.

4.2 Benefits of project management in humanitarian assistance

The general belief that enthusiasm and empathy are the essential skills of aid workers leads to staff that have unsuitable skills and experience (Kopinak 2013 ). As both literature and findings suggest, HA project managers deal with A) a broad range of challenges outside their control, B) hard services to deliver, and C) human management at all levels. Fortunately, PM can add value, improve performance through each of 'its knowledge areas*, and facilitate Project Capability Building (PCB). Figure four highlights communication[4, C1] as one of the most beneficial tools, followed by time coordination[4, B3] and general organisation[4, B1], monitoring and appraisal[4, B9], and stakeholder management[4, C2].

Communication[4, C1] represents the single most crucial task faced. However, it is also considered highly difficult in the HA context. The quality of information exchanged depends highly on trust, respect and values, and verbal and behavioural delivery and decoding. Furthermore, PM benefits projects by providing more realistic time frames[4, B3] and technical abilities to meet them[4, AB2]. This is particularly helpful in the case of exploratory projects as a means to identify cycles[4, AB1] such as the disaster areas: readiness, relief and recovery.

Time coordination[4, B3], allocation of resources[4, B7] and general organisation[B1] can be better achieved through the use of readiness stage, where possible scenarios[A1], governance indicators[4, A1] and preliminary planning can be applied to ensure quick and efficient crisis response as well as cost reduction[4, B4]. Additionally, the disaster relief stage supports logistics and procurement[4, B6] of both human and "basic" survival resources Footnote 10 , and disaster recovery serves as the transition to LRRD[4, B2]. Moreover, methodologies like stakeholder matrix and organised breakdown structure, as well as knowledge areas like Human Resources (HR)[4, BC] and communication[4, C1], help address the challenge of complex stakeholder management[4, C2]. Tools like " project monitoring and evaluation matrix" are relevant to assess project impact and serve as feedback mechanisms to capture lessons[4, C3].

4.3 Cognitive process in exploratory projects

PM offers the opportunity to learn from projects, which is progressively essential to project success (Fig.8). While Sect. 1 identified the uniqueness and complexity of HA projects as a challenge, both exploratory Footnote 11 and exploitative Footnote 12 learning are closely linked to the degree of change in the environment (Brady and Davies 2004 ). Learning from exploratory projects is the process of discovering practical lessons from experiences that could not have been foreseen (Lampel et al. 2009 ). HA projects provide higher learning opportunity as patterns and behaviours can quickly become obsolete. Consequently, constant revision of organisational process permits focus and transforms ambiguous information into knowledge, hence the relevance of identifying cycles and applying monitoring and evaluation in all stages.

Similarly, the process of learning involves making sense of the culture, leadership and capabilities of the current context; it requires a level of receptivity and observation. These lessons can manifest as the creation of new solutions or as innovative processes. The latter is ontological to the cognitive process of exploratory projects, as innovation processes are driven mainly by experimentation. Exploratory projects bring higher opportunities for learning as they do not have definite specifications; their " openness" provides a baseline for the generation of new ideas (Lenfle 2014 ). In like manner, new management methods are encouraged given the levels of " unforeseeable uncertainties"; therefore, the process of learning through exploratory projects can be understood as a loop of selection and testing, an inductive process. However, learning must be captured either through a communication or through embedding the new knowledge into processes and combinations.

4.4 Discussion

It was expected that each of the categories (A, B and C) within the graphs would relate to one another across the different divisions: main challenges, factors of success, contributors to failure and PM contribution. Even though all of these categories are interrelated, the results differ from one division to another. Within challenges (Fig 1 ), the category that was considered the most relevant was the one relating to the external factors (A). In this sense, the results agree with the literature review, which suggests that the environment of HA projects is hostile and uncertain and that its complexity is the main hindrance to success. Moreover, within success factors (Fig 2 ), category C, relating to human-based management and challenges, was considered vital. This category made a high emphasis on communication and interpersonal skills. However, in contrast with what was expected from the literature, communication was not as frequently mentioned as other factors like the relevance of PM or lessons captured. Stakeholder management was also mentioned in both success factors (Fig. 2 ) and PM contributions (Fig. 4 ). However, contrary to what was expected from the literature, the consideration of the recipients and their inclusion in the project was not mentioned as such. It could be inferred that it is part of stakeholder management and that the lack of culture consideration was regarded as highly relevant within contributors to failure (Fig 3 ).

figure 1

Source: Authors

Main Challenges in Humanitarian Aid Projects;

figure 2

Contributors to HA Project Failure;

figure 3

Success Factors in HA projects;

Nevertheless, including the beneficiaries in project design phases was expected to be the primary approach to planning and implementing HA projects. Additionally, the most relevant category in both failure factors (Fig 3 ) and PM contributions (Fig. 4 ) was in relation to the more technical and general management (B).

figure 4

Contribution/knowledge areas of Project Management;

Furthermore, project leaders should harness the passion for positive social impact with careful and intentional planning. This confirms the suggestion from the literature review regarding the possibility of PM being a remedy for poor project performance. Furthermore, it indicates that PM management is critical to achieving successful coordination, time management and resource allocation, all of which were also suggested in the literature review. Despite being a critical factor in the literature review, it was surprising that programme end-users were shown to receive meagre attention and have not been considered necessary, mainly because beneficiaries are at the centre of creating a sustainable project.

For this precise reason, the literature suggested incorporating human-centred design in the planning and implementation and evaluation of HA projects and the benefits of treating the recipients as consumers. However, it seems like there is still a gap in both the literature and the practice between these fields.

5 Conclusion

Natural disasters' frequency and destructive capacity are on the rise, and a high number of international assistance projects are reported to have high failure rates and unsatisfactory performance. Moreover, the livelihood and survival of people in the affected communities are highly dependent on disaster relief projects. Therefore, third sector organisations must find ways to manage humanitarian aid effectively. The professionalisation of humanitarian response has contributed to the adoption of PM tools, and the development of NGO focused PM frameworks. However, there is still a gap concerning meeting the end users' needs and considering them in all parts of the project/disaster life cycle. As the literature identified, the latter is one of the factors of project success because it is linked with the degree of customer value and because including the beneficiaries can result in sustainable outcomes that manage to bridge relief, rehabilitation, and development.

The categorisation of the variables into HA environment and PM knowledge areas suggested that PM can contribute to humanitarian project success and that project manager can and should learn from exploratory projects. The scope of the challenges discovered was as complex as the literature suggested; the main challenges in achieving favourable HA project outcomes included limited resources, difficulty assessing the project's impact, and the broad stakeholder spectrum. Although it was initially assumed that the emergent nature of the exploratory projects hinders outcomes, it was discovered that the highly complex- uncertain, unstable, culturally diverse, and multiple stakeholders- environment could provide a fertile ground to activate the learning process and generate explicit and tacit knowledge. In this sense, it is only logical that capturing lessons and PM application is rated as the most critical factors to achieve project success. However, project managers must consider that patterns and behaviours in HA projects can quickly become obsolete and that constant revision of organisational process and communication allows the transformation of ambiguous information into knowledge.

In the same way, communication was one of the most relevant success factors, and the PM contribution was considered the most important. Findings suggested that communication is at the core of success because it is part of every process, from HR to coordinating with a diverse roster of stakeholders to permit the correct allocation of time, resources, procurement, etc. Communication is also vital to design thinking. It allows project managers to adapt to the environment and understand the needs of the end-users and engage with them to create solutions that are suitable for the communities affected. People must be placed at the centre of the project life cycle, and beneficiaries must be included in all project design phases. Further research into both the practical use and perceived benefits of human-centred design needs to be undertaken and the results contrasted with those of current standard practices. This would enable a fuller understanding of how these practices help and hinder the development of better outcomes for beneficiaries, leading to more synthesis between traditional and innovative project management approaches in the third sector.

In conclusion, project management, particularly in HA, goes beyond tools and methodologies. Managers must also possess high human skills to adapt to demanding environments, communicate appropriately, and engage with multiple stakeholders to achieve a successful project outcome. People are the common denominator throughout this study. Lack of stakeholder consideration and working from the preconceived notions of what needs, and solutions are detrimental to project success. Both donors and recipients matter, and project managers should prioritise accordingly and bridge the gap between donor-recipient relations to find innovative ways of meeting their requirements. In this sense, adopting design thinking can lead to more sustainable solutions and project success. Lastly, this report identified a gap in the literature relating to the promotion and efficacy of design thinking when implementing PM. Further research into both the practical use and perceived benefits of human-centred design needs to be undertaken and the results contrasted with those of current standard practices. This would enable a fuller understanding of how these practices help and hinder the development of better outcomes for beneficiaries, leading to more synthesis between traditional and innovative project management approaches in the third sector.

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The process of acquiring knowledge through thought, experience and/or senses (New Oxford American Dictionary, 2010 ).

“Hard” services refer to transportation links, water, electricity, etc. (Steinfort and Walker 2011 ).

Soft” services involve the activities that help the community return to normal life, such as restoring dignity and morale of the community and providing help to overcome the trauma of the catastrophe (Steinfort and Walker 2011 ).

Rebuilding schools without making sure that children live in a safe home, or building a water centre that does not provide containers to easily carry clean water, are some examples of how absence of hard and soft services delay project outcome (Brown and Winter, 2010 ).

This categorisation was organised in a way that it separated external/less controllable factors (A), from variables that can relate directly to PM knowledge areas (B&C). Further separating integration, scope, TCQ, risk management, procurement and justification (B), from more human based related variables: HR, stakeholder and communication.

Please read [1, A1] as figure 1, bar-chart A1.

Mainly food, shelter and medicine.

Knowledge acquired in exploratory projects (Brady and Davies  2004 )

What results of exploratory learning as it develops into new capabilities (Brady and Davies  2004 )


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Upadhyay, A., Hernandez, M.J.P. & Balodi, K.C. Covid-19 Disaster relief projects management: an exploratory study of critical success factors. Oper Manag Res 17 , 1–12 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12063-021-00246-4

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Received : 25 June 2021

Revised : 27 October 2021

Accepted : 05 December 2021

Published : 26 April 2022

Issue Date : March 2024

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s12063-021-00246-4

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PMI - Project Management Methodology for Post Disaster Reconstruction

PMI's Project Management Methodology is a downloadable file containing instructor, participant and classroom documents, presentations and worksheets available for use by relief agencies, NGOs, and governments following a major disaster.

Please directly consult the provider of a potential resource for current program information and to verify the applicability and requirements of a particular program.

The Frontline Scorecard – Diagnosing the disaster resilience of health systems

Frontline Scorecard Report with Logos


  • A new report by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) presents a tool for conducting an initial broad-based assessment of the resilience of a country’s health system to disasters and climate change.
  • Disaster resilience not only depends on the robustness of the health system, but also on its seamless integration with a country’s emergency management and infrastructure systems.
  • Operational examples, notably from Belize, demonstrate how the Scorecard can guide the direction for more in-depth technical assistance, and thus help with identifying and prioritizing concrete actions for building resilience.

Frequent natural shocks, exacerbated by climate change, pose profound challenges for health systems, and the health systems’ ability to provide reliable care. Belize, a small coastal country in Central America, is at the forefront of such risks. In 2022, Category 2 Hurricane Lisa forced many private health practices to shut down in Belize City, increasing demand for services from the public and private-public sectors. Most patients were moved to Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City, which is the country’s only tertiary health facility, putting additional strain on already scarce resources. The risks may intensify in the coming years: KHMH itself is not designed to withstand hurricanes stronger than Category 2. Belize City, entirely below sea level, faces a heightened flood risk, and KHMH is situated in a particularly vulnerable flood zone.

The World Bank collaborates with countries to strengthen the resilience of health systems against climate change and disasters. GFDRR’s thematic area on Climate and Disaster Risk Management for Health Systems supports these efforts through technical assistance such as the Frontline report which sets out five  priority areas that are essential for disaster preparedness of health systems:

  • Foundations: Strengthening the capacity of health systems to manage routine demands is a prerequisite for increasing their resilience to shocks.
  • Health care facilities: It is imperative that facilities are equipped to handle surge in demand during emergencies and protected against shocks, such as earthquakes or floods.
  • Health care systems: The coordination of regional and system-level responses, along with the implementation of flexible solutions are key during emergencies.
  • National emergency management: The health sector’s crisis response should be synchronized with emergency management systems, including civil protection and risk financing.
  • Quality infrastructure: Resilient water, electricity, transport, and digital infrastructure are indispensable for the delivery of effective health services.

The recently published Frontline Scorecard report for disaster resilient health systems converts the report’s principles into a data-driven, country-specific gap analysis to identify major risks and potential areas for action. Targeting low- and middle-income countries, the scorecard serves as an initial step towards pinpointing and prioritizing investments, reforms, and topics for further examination. To achieve this, the Frontline Scorecard evaluates over 80 distinct indicators across the different priority areas to identify pressing gaps and opportunities for improvement. These indicators are evaluated using data from multinational institutions—including the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)— as well as national public reports, and other reputable sources in health, disaster risk reduction, emergency response, and infrastructure.

The newly released Frontline Scorecard report introduces its methodological foundations and showcases its application in Belize, demonstrating how health system planners and disaster risk management agencies can build on its insights to identify areas to strengthen resilience and disaster risk management. The operational benefits of the Scorecard —such as speed, reliability, flexibility, and broad applicability— are highlighted by its ability to provide rapid insights, thanks to its development from reliable sources and capability for customization.

This scorecard approach has already been piloted in several countries, including Peru, Colombia and Belize, to identify priority actions for building health system resilience. The case study of Belize, detailed in the new Frontline Scorecard report, illustrates how this assessment can guide the focus of more in-depth technical assistance – and thus inform decisions on the allocation of resources to critical elements of a health system’s disaster preparedness strategy. The analysis involved a structured review of data and policy documents, complemented by on-site visits and consultations with experts. The key findings highlight the urgent needs for routine maintenance of health facilities, enhancing supply chain and storage systems, nationwide standardization and implementation of emergency protocols, and the establishment of uniform standards and procedures for medical staff.

Through these efforts, GFDRR supports World Bank teams and partner governments in uncovering opportunities to build resilience, marking a crucial first step towards policy adaptation and investments in shock-resilient health systems.

This report was made possible with the financial support from the Japan-Bank Program for Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management in Developing Countries under the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).

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