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By : Aurelio Ferrero, Daniela Garga

Latin America is recurrently affected by natural disasters. It is in the poorest populations where the damage combines disastrously with the vulnerability of these communities, and only few of the experiences developed in Latin America have used efficient performance mechanisms in relation to the management of disaster risk. Focusing on the immediate response, most of these experiences have neglected the perspective of integral development, thus not working successfully. The weakness of the local institutions thus becomes obvious, as well as the lack of technological instruments for risk reduction. On the other hand, from the point of view of the relationship between science and technology with regard to the problem of risk, more theoretical than actual technological contributions have been made, which no doubt constitutes a vacant area. In the face of this reality, as from December 2002, a new network called "Habitat at Risk" has been constituted in the Iberian-American Programme of Science and Technology for Development (CYTED), within the sub-programme called "Social Interest Housing". The purpose of this network is to offer technological contributions for the strengthening of local organisations which work in risk areas, and to enhance their response in the face of disasters directed towards habitat and the different aspects, stages, and dimensions involved.
Keywords : Latin America, Disaster, Risk, Habitat, Iberian-American Network

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