This Community Resilience Handbook for Disaster Preparedness and Management is prepared with inputs from the “America with Kerala” project that was jointly organized by the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai, the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) in Kochi, and the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) from June to October 2019. Organized in response to the devastating floods and landslides that ravaged Kerala in August 2018 and 2019, the “America with Kerala” project aimed to share key lessons and best practices from the U.S. experience with relevant agencies and stakeholders in Kerala while giving an opportunity for U.S. experts to learn from Kerala's experience managing the floods. The five-month campaign promoted an all-hazards approach specifically addressing the four phases of a disaster management cycle including mitigation/prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery.
Launched in June 2019 in Kerala's capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, “America with Kerala” ideated the development of a curriculum informed by Kerala's emergency management landscape while emphasizing American innovation and pedagogy regarding communication, critical thinking, and technical skills. Dr. Himanshu Grover of the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, served as the U.S. subject matter expert for multiple “America with Kerala” workshops. The Kochi workshop held in July 2019 focused on sustainable policy management and an all- hazards approach, emphasizing infrastructure and innovation. U.S. expert Amy Chester, the CEO of the New York-based NGO Rebuild by Design, underscored the importance of sustainable infrastructure development in the context of physical and social vulnerabilities. The Kozhikode workshops, held in October 2019, focused on grassroots community-based disaster risk mitigation. Dr. Samantha Montano of the University of Nebraska in Omaha, USA, offered best practices in building community resiliency with special reference to forming and preparing first responders, the role of non-profit organizations in recovery, and the field of disaster volunteerism.
This resource guide includes recommendations and inputs from the grassroots community leaders who led on-the-ground disaster responses during the 2018 and 2019 floods and landslides in Kerala; U.S. and Indian experts on disaster management; and other relevant sources including KSDMA and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) resources.