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With the increasing impact of climate change, the number of natural disasters is growing rapidly, nearly obliterating entire cities and communities, as seen earlier this year in Amatrice, Italy. How can we ensure that the affected communities become more resilient to further disasters while rebuilding their lives brought to a standstill?

QSAND has been created by BRE to help develop a self-assessment sustainability tool focused on shelter and settlement reconstruction in the aftermath of natural disasters. Its aim is to inform and measure the sustainability impacts and performance of various stages of the disaster timeline. QSAND is based on BRE’s long and successful heritage, developing the BREEAM family of sustainability standards for buildings.

The tool was formed from discussions between BRE and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on how long-term sustainability impacts can be better considered and integrated into the disaster relief and recovery operations of the humanitarian sector.

The IFRC, together with its 189 member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, reaches 85 million people through disaster response and early recovery programmes. Though well-known for its vital work in emergency and crisis, the IFRC also reaches 97 million people annually through long term and development programmes.

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QSAND (Quantifying Sustainability in the Aftermath of Natural Disasters)

First QSAND volunteer

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Bria Fast, volunteer

Bria Fast, from Minneapolis, USA, is the first ever volunteer to join the QSAND team. She has been supporting the project in Nepal where the concept of a self-assessment tool is still very new.

Yetunde Abdul, QSAND Programme Manager at BRE says “Bria’s enthusiasm and support is very welcome at a time where there is potential to not only review how QSAND is being used but also grow partnerships.”

With a background in international development and previously working for Habitat for Humanity, Bria has been well placed to help QSAND grow through funding and partnerships, supporting other partners to implement the tool and achieve a performance level. While still in its infancy, QSAND’s main focus is strengthening actual communities through building physical resilience and creating a social sense and according to Bria – that is the best part!

“I was first introduced to QSAND at the training course in Nepal while working for Habitat for Humanity” says Bria.

“I have seen so many development projects fail because they are subjected to a ‘one size fits all’ policy in their design – organizations assume that because a methodology was successful in one situation it will be successful everywhere. I was drawn to QSAND because it could be customised to fit different contexts, meaning organizations can choose to assess only those sustainability issues that are directly relevant to their mission and their situation. There are many ways that QSAND improves on the status quo of sustainable disaster response, but its innovative approach to measuring success was what really caught my attention.  Now we are focusing on establishing international partnerships to review and refine QSAND as well as seeking out additional funding to increase our reach. It is exciting to help build the foundation for what I hope will be the industry standard in measuring sustainability in disaster response and recovery.”

For more information on QSAND and its work in the disaster recovery sector go to www.qsand.org

Ana Paun
About the Author
Communications Executive

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