Play and Stop Disasters: A Game from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Benjamin Cebulash
PD Specialist
News on November 19 2020

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) has an amazing website and simulator game that teaches students about disaster risk and how to reduce the fallout. The UNDRR, according to their website “…brings many organizations, governments, universities, institutions, and members of the civil society together for a common objective: implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the global plan to reduce disaster losses by 2030.” 

This particular website offers students and teachers free access to game simulators for five different disaster scenarios in which students are tasked with mitigating damage and loss. Not only are the games challenging and fun, but they are an educational and important tool in raising awareness among young people about natural disasters.

While running through the game simulations, students learn how the environment and materials of buildings and homes can make all the difference when disasters occur. They also learn how early warning systems, evacuation plans, and disaster planning, can reduce the loss of life under the circumstances.   

The game interface includes: 

  • Five hazardous conditions including a hurricane, tsunami, wildfire, earthquake, and flood 
  • Three difficulty levels in each scenario: easy, medium, and hard 
  • Mission objectives and challenges 
  • Budget, population, and risk-potential meters 
  • Building tools 
  • Game-like graphics               

The website also contains some great resources and information about natural hazards and disasters, including teacher assets, a list of the ten worst natural disasters of the 20th century, and three brief videos to share with students, if you so choose.   

Overall, this can also be used as an extension activity within a STEM unit or PBL lesson around the topic of natural hazards and disasters.

Another great idea is to use the Stop Disasters program in conjunction with the Teq iBlock “Engineering for Hazardous Weather: Taking Flood Control to New Heights.”

iBlocks are project-based learning pathways that guide students through the Engineering Design Process. In the “Engineering for Hazardous Weather” iBlock in particular, students consider how and why floods form while also investigating specific areas of concern. They also explore how to improve upon or create an original disaster risk reduction plan. In conjunction with the iBlock, this game simulator can help students to analyze and critique their hypotheses about what will, and will not, be a sufficient response to a natural hazard and/or disaster. 


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