Early action

To achieve our goal of reducing suffering and losses by using the window of time between a forecast or warning and an extreme event, early actions are key.
Find out more about what we understand by early actions, what we want to achieve by them and how we select them.

What are early actions?

Early actions are the core of anticipatory action. They are the activities that organizations implement in response to a forecast or early warning, before a disaster has occurred, in order to reduce the impact of the predicted event. These could range from refreshing volunteer and staff training to strengthening houses or distributing cash or other supplies to help vulnerable populations prepare for and cope with the immediate aftermath of an extreme event.

The early action database catalogs many early actions that are in or have been considered for existing early action programs or protocols and will be countinuously updated.

Why early actions?

Early actions aim to reduce the humanitarian impact of extreme events before they occur. They fill the gap between traditional disaster risk reduction, which seeks to reduce vulnerability to hazards over the long-term, and humanitarian response, which provides relief after an event has occurred and people are clearly suffering. Despite longer-term efforts at increasing resilience and addressing causes of vulnerability in many areas, many people remain vulnerable. After an extreme event, it can be more difficult to reach people and it can take time for humanitarian operations to scale up. Through early action, humanitarians seek to reduce human suffering and losses, and perhaps even the cost of traditional response, by taking action in the window between a forecast (or other prediction) and the onset of the hazard.

How do you decide what early actions to take?

Which early actions you take will depend upon the hazard, the lead-time provided by the forecast, organization expertise and capacity, and a number of other contextual factors; however, the goal is always to find actions that are feasible in the early-action-window given your context and that have the greatest chance of helping beneficiaries prepare for and reduce the impact of the event in question.

The approaches of the different organisations active in anticipatory action to identify and prioritise early actions might differ, this page will be continuously updated to showcase examples.

To learn more about how early actions are selected by the Red Cross Red Crescent in Forecast-based Financing, visit the  FbF Practitioners Manual.

Early action database

Identifying appropriate early actions for a particular hazard and context is essential to successful anticipatory action. In the interest of facilitating exchange between organizations, regions, and actors, this early action database allows practitioners to see what anticipatory actions are being implemented or considered around the world.

The early action database catalogs many early actions that are in or have been considered for existing early action programs or protocols and will be countinuously updated.

Photo by Burkinabe Red Cross

 

View early action database