Friday, September 27, 2013

Disaster risk reduction: Following the money

Elizabeth Blunt in IRIN: The world takes disaster risk reduction (DRR) seriously these days; it has been nearly 10 years since the Hyogo Framework for Action put the issue on the map. The World Bank, which used to have only 20 people working on DRR, now has more than a hundred. But even now, money spent on DRR is just a small fraction of aid funding. For every US$9 dollars spent responding to disasters, only $1 is spent on preventing and preparing for them. And, says a new report, for every $100 spent on development aid, just 40 cents is invested in protecting that aid from the impact of disasters.

The report, Financing Disaster Risk Reduction, is the outcome of some serious number-crunching by the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), which tracked DRR financing over the past 20 years - where the money came from and where it went. The money came from relatively few donors, they found, and went overwhelmingly to just a small group of countries, and often unexpected ones.

The World Bank itself is the source of much of the money, along with the Asian Development Bank and just one national donor, Japan, whose own geographical position has given it direct experience of earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. (Japan also hosted the Hyogo meeting in 2005.)

The main aid recipients, the report found, are middle-income countries. China and Indonesia are far ahead, and Bangladesh is the only poorer country in the top ten.   “There is some correlation between mortality risk levels and volumes of financing, but only at the high-risk level,” the report says....

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse, 1940

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