Community-based disaster preparedness and disaster risk management depend on community engagement that is to a large extent driven by people's willingness to volunteer and contribute to the social good in their communities. Volunteers, as community members, are often the ones who have the closest contact with the problems of the communities and the locations in which they live. They are also often the ones best placed to identify the needs, the vulnerabilites and also the capabilities of the people in communities at-risk to the impacts of disasters.
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Often volunteers are already associated with an existing community organization and that organization has chosen disaster preparedness as one of its objectives and sets of activities. Other times, especially in disaster response, volunteers may be spontaneous and unaffiliated who have arrived at the disaster scen ready to help. In both context's volunteers' offers of help are often underutilized and run about against the disaster management system’s capacity to utilize thier time and capacities effectively.
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