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Disaster Risk Management

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-- Related Links --

Website: Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery 


At a Glance

No part of the world is immune from disasters―whether the Japan earthquake and tsunami, the floods in Thailand, or the drought in the Horn of Africa. What concerns the World Bank is that natural disasters can roll back years of development gains. Lower income countries account for more than 70 percent of the world’s disaster ‘hotspots’. Worse, a third of the world’s poor live in multi-hazard zones. 

·        According to the 2010 World Bank/United Nations (UN) report Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: the Economics of Effective Prevention, disasters caused more than 3.3 million deaths and US$2.3 trillion in damage (in 2008 US dollars) between 1970 and 2010.

·        Natural disasters affect low and middle-income countries disproportionately. Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters reports that the impact of disaster losses on GDP is twenty times higher for developing countries than for industrialized nations.

·        Without factoring in climate change adaptation costs, it is expected that rapid population growth in cities, coupled with fast-paced economic development, will result in greater damages in the wake of extreme disasters. In the absence of policy changes, these costs are expected to triple to $185 billion annually by 2100 from 2010 levels.

·        Climate change induced tropical cyclones could add between US$28 billion and US$68 billion to annual damages by 2100.


World Bank Contribution to Disaster Risk Management

The World Bank is responding to the growing demand from countries for assistance after natural disasters and support to improve preparedness for future disasters. Over the past 10 years, the Bank has positioned itself as a global leader in the disaster risk management field, providing financing for post-disaster recovery, reconstruction and disaster risk management, as well as providing advisory services to disaster-prone countries to manage the risk of adverse natural events, and respond to disasters when they occur.


"Between 1984 and 2005 the World Bank financed 528 projects with disaster-related activities, totaling more than $26 billion, or just less than $1.2 billion a year. Since then, financing directly linked to DRM has increased to more than $2.3 billion a year (totaling $11.7 billion). Between 2006 and 2011 the World Bank financed 113 disaster prevention and preparedness operations ($7.9 billion) and 68 disaster reconstruction operations ($3.8 billion). In all support for DRM, the World Bank promotes a comprehensive, multi-sector approach to managing disaster risk in countries."


The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) has emerged as the leading institutional mechanism for disaster risk reduction and post-disaster response. A global program hosted by the World Bank, GFDRR is a partnership of 41 countries and eight international organizations. It has leveraged the Bank’s role, leadership, and performance on global knowledge creation, innovation, capacity building, and partnerships.

Strategic Outcomes of the World Bank’s Disaster Risk Management Practice

·        Large-scale emergency recovery programs such as the Horn of Africa Drought Response (US$1.88 billion), Pakistan Earthquake (US$1.05 billion), Bihar Floods (US$220 million), and Pakistan Flood Emergency Cash Transfer Project (US$125 million).

·        Comprehensive post-disaster needs assessments for over 30 disasters in the last five years.

·        Large vulnerability reduction programs such as Istanbul Seismic Risk Mitigation (US$400 million), and Colombia Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Program (US$340 million).

·        Innovative risk financing instruments such as the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility; the Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (CAT-DDO) (US$450 million for Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru, and El Salvador; US$500 million for the Philippines; US$66 million for Panama), and the Southeast Europe and Caucasus Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility.

·        Cutting-edge country capacity building and technical assistance initiatives on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, such as the Mozambique Water Resources Development Project (US$70 million).

·        Informing the global Disaster Risk Management agenda with knowledge products such as the Housing Reconstruction Handbook, Climate Adaptation Profiles for 31 vulnerable countries, and the Japan Knowledge Notes and the Sendai Report (to be published in October 2012).

·        Partnership development and catalysing global knowledge sharing through high level events such as 2011’s World Reconstruction Conference, Understanding Risk Forum 2012 and the Random Hacks of Kindness.

·        Supporting in-country capacities to source, create, open and share data advances in open source risk modelling.

Highlights and Results

·        Disaster Risk Management is increasingly present in Country Assistance Strategies (CASs) including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Haiti, Madagascar, Malawi, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Senegal, Togo, Vietnam and Yemen among others.

·        Since 2007, GFDRR-supported Post Disaster Needs Assessments (PDNAs) leveraged over US$3.3 billion in disaster-specific medium- to long-term recovery and reconstruction investments. These investments are expected to lead to the reconstruction of at least 1.7 million homes, 600 health facilities and 2,300 schools, in turn permitting the return of some 8 million displaced people to their homes and a restoration of health and education facilities for around 3 million people.

·        With on-going engagements in 25 countries, the Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI) enables more effective DRM decision-making by promoting broader access to climate and disaster risk information.

·        Over 20 countries are benefitting from their governments’ increased access to data and improved risk management capacity as a result of sub-national and national level risk assessments facilitated by GFDRR.

·        Some 11.4 million people are the potential beneficiaries of their countries’ strengthened financial resilience to natural hazards. For example, in India, more than 2 million farmers received indemnity payments after drought through the improved Agricultural Crop Insurance Scheme that was supported by technical assistance from GFDRR.


Related Link

Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery:


Contact: Mr. Prashant, GFDRR, (202) 473 8162, 

Updated September 2012

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