• Disasters hurt the poor and vulnerable the most. From 1998 through 2018, 91% of storm-related fatalities were in low- and middle-income countries, even though these countries experienced just 32% of storms.

    Since 1980, more than two million people and over $3 trillion have been lost to disasters caused by natural hazards, with total damages increasing by more than 600% from $23 billion a year in the 1980s to $150 billion a year in the last decade.

    The World Bank’s Shock Waves report finds that almost 75% of the losses are attributable to extreme weather events, and climate change threatens to push an additional 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030. The Bank’s Unbreakable report finds that natural disasters have had large and long-lasting impacts on poverty.

    Population growth and rapid urbanization are driving the increase in disaster risks. The United Nations estimates that more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. The Bank’s Aftershocks report explains that these trends could put 1.3 billion people and $158 trillion in assets at risk from river and coastal floods alone.

    According to the Bank’s Investing in Urban Resilience report, by 2030, without significant investment into making cities more resilient, natural disasters may cost cities worldwide $314 billion each year.

    On the other hand, investing in more resilient infrastructure can provide a net benefit in low- and middle-income countries of $4.2 trillion, with $4 in benefit for each $1 invested, according to the Bank’s recent Lifelines report. Such investments can improve the quality and resilience of essential services – such as transport, or water and electricity supply – and thereby contribute to more resilient and prosperous societies.

    Mainstreaming disaster risk management into development planning can reverse the current trend of rising disaster impact. Furthermore, when countries rebuild stronger, faster and more inclusively after disasters, they can reduce the impact on people’s livelihoods and well-being by as much as 31%, potentially cutting global average losses.

    If countries act decisively, they can save lives and assets. However, many developing countries lack the tools, expertise, and instruments to factor the potential impacts of disasters into their investment decisions.

    Last Updated: Sep 23,2019

  • Over the past decade, the World Bank has emerged as the global leader in disaster risk management (DRM), supporting client countries in assessing exposure to hazards and addressing disaster risks. The World Bank Group (WBG) provides technical and financial support for risk assessments, risk reduction, preparedness, financial protection, and resilient recovery and reconstruction.

    The World Bank’s annual DRM investment across the entire portfolio has increased from $3.7 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2012 to $4.5 billion in FY 2019. In providing support for DRM, the WBG promotes a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach to managing disaster risk. All World Bank projects are now screened for climate and disaster risk to ensure that they build the resilience of people on the ground.

    The Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice (GPURL) houses the World Bank’s core DRM specialists and leads engagement with client countries on disaster risk and resilience. The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), a global partnership managed by the World Bank and supported by 33 countries and 11 international institutions, acts as a financing and technical body that supports DRM across the World Bank Group.

    As reflected in its Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience, the World Bank Group is making adaptation and resilience a key priority, placing it on an equal footing with climate mitigation actions. Through the Action Plan, the World Bank commits to:

    1. Boost adaptation financing to reach $50 billion over FY21-25, more than double what was achieved during FY15-18,
    2. Drive a mainstreamed, whole-of-government programmatic approach, and
    3. Develop a new rating system to create incentives for, and improve the tracking of, global progress on adaptation and resilience.

    The World Bank’s approach to delivering on its strategy is organized by areas of engagement, which support priorities for action outlined in the Sendai Framework, as well as contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. These areas of engagement include:

    Science and innovation in disaster risk management

    To build resilience to natural hazards, it is essential that communities and governments have access to information about disaster risk that is understandable and actionable. GFDRR and the World Bank continue to increase access to information on disaster risk by supporting advances in science, technology, and innovation that can further the understanding of disaster risk and help achieve this goal.

    Promoting resilient infrastructure

    Basic public services are frequently disrupted in the aftermath of a disaster. When restoring and maintaining them, financing and technical advice are needed to integrate disaster risk management principles into their design. The success of a dedicated program for building safer schools has led to the establishment of programs in other critical sectors, such as transport and water. The Lifelines report showed that disasters result in about $18 billion/year in direct damages to power and transport infrastructure – and the resulting infrastructure disruptions have wide-ranging socio-economic costs for firms and households. Thus, targeted investments to build resilience in infrastructure yield $4 in benefits for every $1 invested.

    Climate change puts trillions of dollars of transport investments at risk, which is why resilience – especially road resilience – is also a key part of the World Bank’s agenda. The Bank is working with countries to build resilience into transport systems using strategies such as increasing redundancy; making system-wide efforts to address standards, methods, and materials; and improving effectiveness of preparations for – and response to – extreme climate events.

    Water systems are another area at the core of climate change adaptation strategies. Nine out of 10 disasters are water-related, and those risks cascade through food, energy, urban, and environmental systems. The World Bank is promoting investments in nature-based solutions that harness the power of green infrastructure, such as mangroves and wetlands, to play a bigger role in traditional infrastructure planning. This effort can generate services at lower total costs and boost resilience.

    Scaling up the resilience of cities

    Rapid urbanization in developing countries requires substantial and well-planned infrastructure investments to meet growing resource demands, enhance economic growth, and advance social development. It is also critical to ensure that any infrastructure built today is resilient to disasters and climate change, through access to robust and high-resolution information on risks and appropriate incentives to increase design specifications to build resilience.  Actions aimed at building resilience of the cities of today and tomorrow are underway in 52 countries around the world.

    The WBG’s City Resilience Program (CRP) works to empower cities to pursue comprehensive investment programs to strengthen resilience, and to access a broad range of financing options. Since its establishment in June 2017, CRP has worked with over 90 cities in more than 50 countries, influencing 20 ongoing and future investment projects for a combined $2.3 billion ($1.3 billion IDA and $975 million IBRD). The objective of the CRP is to support cities in embedding resilience into investment projects and mobilizing capital beyond World Bank loans. To do so, the program offers support in the planning process and capital mobilization. To support planning, the program engages with the tech community delivering digital tech solutions to better understand the built and the natural environment. To support finance, the program engages with an ecosystem of donors, international financial institutions (IFIs) and financial advisors to crowd in the necessary market to deliver finance to cities.

    Strengthening hydromet services and early warning systems

    Mounting disaster costs have increased the need for accurate, timely, and usable information on the likely impacts of weather, climate, and hydrological hazards. Hydromet engagements offer technical expertise and capacity building, both to governments supporting the design of hydromet modernization programs and through engagement in the World Bank/WMO Africa Hydromet Initiative and the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems Initiative (CREWS).

    Deepening financial protection

    Disasters caused by natural hazards inflict an average of $165 billion in financial losses each year, far exceeding available development funds. The Global Risk Financing Facility (GRiF), co-managed by GFDRR and the Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation Global Practice and launched in 2018, helps strengthen the financial resilience of vulnerable countries by establishing new – or scaling up existing –  risk financing instruments, including insurance and other market-based instruments.

    Building social resilience

    Through a combination of geographical context; financial, socioeconomic, cultural, and gender status; and access to services, decision making, and justice, socially marginalized groups are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of natural hazards. The Social Resilience program strengthens the resilience of these vulnerable groups by promoting community-led approaches to risk.

    Deepening engagements in resilience to climate change

    The World Bank and GFDRR help countries better understand their climate risk and assist with the design and implementation of investments to include climate-resilient measures. For example, the Small Island States Resilience Initiative engages national experts working on DRM and climate adaptation, and delivers more harmonized support for resilience to Small Island States.

    Ensuring resilient and effective response capacity to meet existing and emerging risks

    In the imminent threat or in the aftermath of disaster, first responders (fire, ambulance, police) and civil protection agencies are critical for timely, adequate, effective, and efficient response to limit further disaster impacts – such as fire after earthquake – to save lives and minimize harm, and to provide a reassuring front to citizens affected by disaster. However, many first response and civil protection buildings are themselves vulnerable to damage in disaster, with communications, power, and water systems at high risk of failure. Moreover, risks are changing in cities, with climate change bringing more intense rainfall and the need to undertake rapid water rescues, or higher buildings requiring different types of rescue equipment, or simply growing populations inadequately covered by shrinking emergency services. The World Bank and GFDRR are supporting countries to identify challenges and to design practical strategies and investment plans to ensure first responders and civil protection authorities are ready for the risks that lie ahead.

    Enabling resilient recovery

    The World Bank and GFDRR are helping countries implement post-disaster damage and needs assessments, as well as recovery and reconstruction programs, based on the principle of building back better. Emphasis is placed on the development and distribution of knowledge products to build the capacity of key stakeholders in planning for rapid recovery and preparedness for future disasters.

    Promoting resilience to climate change and enabling gender equality are both central to these areas of engagement, and these two themes are embedded into all World Bank DRM activities.

    Last Updated: Sep 23,2019

  • Results include:

    • The Mozambique Cities and Climate Change Project, funded by $120 million IDA credit, includes a stormwater drainage system whose 11 kilometers of canals and flood control systems to prevent the city from flooding, strengthening the city’s resilience to weather-related hazards. Soon after the Idai and Kenneth cyclones hit that affected millions of people, the port of Beira was back in operation and the city cleaned up, partly thanks to this project. The project also includes solar-powered street lighting, which at one point was the only source of light in the city. 
    • To help the cyclone recovery, the World Bank announced nearly $700 million in support for Mozambique, along with Malawi and Zimbabwe. Mozambique received a commitment of $350 million from the IDA Crisis Response Window to re-establish the water supply and rebuild damaged public infrastructure and crops. The financing supports disease prevention, food security, social protection, and early-warning systems in the impacted communities.
    • As part of the World Bank’s response to the 2018 earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, a rapid assessment of the damage‑affected areas in Central Sulawesi was conducted using the Global Rapid post‑disaster Damage Estimation (GRADE) methodology – a remote, desk-based, rapid damage assessment method deployed on request soon after a disaster.
    • Nature-based solutions (NBS) help countries use their own ecosystems to build resilience, avoid maladaptation, and protect their biodiversity. Since 2012, the World Bank has financed 76 investments and activities that use NBS to reduce flooding, coastal erosion, landslides, and droughts. In partnership with the World Resources Institute, the Bank released a report that shows how weaving the power of “green” natural systems, including flood plains and forests, into “gray” traditional infrastructure systems can lower cost and increase resilience.
    • The World Bank and GFDRR are partnering with governments and local communities in 12 cities across Africa to collect and share risk information through the Open Cities Africa project. In 2018-19, local teams mapped more than half a million geographical features and over 30,000 kilometers of road; trained approximately 500 people on digital cartography with a 41% female participation rate; and captured hundreds of square kilometers of drone imagery that will help inform the design of disaster risk management solutions.
    • The World Bank recognizes the essential role of culture in planning and funding projects for cities that have suffered the effects of disaster and war. The Bank and UNESCO jointly proposed a framework via the Culture in City Reconstruction and Recovery (CURE) position paper. The framework is a culture-based approach to city reconstruction and recovery in post-conflict, post-disaster, and urban distress situations that accounts for the needs, values, and priorities of people.
    • As the World Bank continues to “build back better” to reduce annual disaster-related losses, the Global Program for Resilient Housing aims to help countries, cities, and communities “build better before” the next disaster by making homes safer and more resilient to natural hazards and climate change.
    • Held by the World Bank, Build Academy, Airbnb, GFDRR, and UN-Habitat, the Resilient Homes Design Challenge called on architects, engineers, designers and students to generate designs for affordable, disaster-resilient, and sustainable houses for people living in areas affected by – or vulnerable to – disasters caused by natural hazards. Winners were announced in December 2018 out of over 300 team submissions by more than 3,000 professionals from over 120 countries.
    • In Lebanon, Phase II of the Comprehensive Urban Resilience Master Plan for the City of Beirut is designed to improve the city’s technical understanding of key seismic, flooding, and coastal hazards, benefiting over 500,000 people. The project creates a centralized risk management system at the municipal level and a city resilience strategy, which will help mobilize city-level investments for risk reduction.
    • Through the Enhancing Resilience in Kyrgyzstan Project, the World Bank and GFDRR are helping the Kyrgyz Republic implement its State Program on Safe Schools and Preschools, which aims to improve the safety of all 3,228 educational facilities – comprising 1.5 million Kyrgyz students – in the country by 2024. In Turkey, a new project aims to provide safe and resilient schools for 280,000 students and teachers by 2025. These projects build upon lessons learned from similar projects undertaken in other countries through the Global Program for Safer Schools.
    • Following the devastating 2017 landslide in Sierra Leone, the WBG and GFDRR supported the Sierra Leone Post-Landslide and Floods Rapid Damage and Loss Assessment and Recovery Framework. The assessment helped inform the design of the Freetown Emergency Recovery Project in support of the government’s resilient recovery program, to 1) rehabilitate and rebuild damaged infrastructure, 2) remediate the landslide area, and 3) strengthen DRM and early warning capacity.
    • With support from the European Union (EU), GFDRR is managing two new programs that will support Caribbean countries to plan for long-term resilience and climate-smart growth strategies, and to design and implement innovative policy and investment initiatives. The Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility will help 15 Caribbean countries mainstream resilience, reduce vulnerability, and expand financial protection against disasters. The Technical Assistance Program for Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance in Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) will help the OCTs understand their financial exposure to disasters and their financial protection options, and facilitate knowledge sharing among OCTs.
    • Also in the Caribbean, a new program known as Canada Caribbean Resilient Facility will help enhance preparedness, recovery interventions, and public financial management practices in Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Suriname, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines.
    • The West African Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA) was developed by the World Bank Group in partnership with the people who live along the West African coast to improve the management of shared natural and man-made risks affecting coastal communities. The WACA program provides countries with access to technical expertise and finance to support sustainable development in the coastal zone, using management of coastal erosion and hazardous flooding as an entry point.
    • Following the 2018 floods in Kerala, India, which killed over 480 people and affected nearly 5.4 million, the government of Kerala, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank conducted a Joint Rapid Disaster Needs Assessment to quantify the damage and assess the long-term recovery needs. The assessment informs a recovery and resilience framework, with which the World Bank will help the Kerala finance and build resilient institutions, systems, and infrastructure to achieve the state government’s vision to build back better.

    Last Updated: Sep 23,2019

  • The World Bank Group and GFDRR work with more than 400 external partners on disaster risk management (DRM), including leading universities, the insurance sector, the risk modeling industry, civil society organizations, foundations, technical and development agencies of national governments, as well as the United Nations and other multilateral agencies.

    GFDRR manages special programs with Japan and the EU that cover DRM and natural disaster risk reduction. Japan-World Bank Program for Mainstreaming DRM in developing countries (DRM Hub) in Tokyo leverages good practice from Japan and around the world to support technical assistance and knowledge management activities. As part of its partnership with the EU, GFDRR manages an NDRR program with the Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) and the EU, which supports DRM and climate change adaption activities in ACP countries by providing technical assistance, capacity building, and advisory and analytical work.

    Last Updated: Sep 23,2019



VIDEO May 10,2016

Understanding Disaster Risk

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