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Red Cross calls for risk mitigation investment

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Risk mitigation is crucial to managing disasters, especially those induced by climate change, the Red Cross says.

“Many climate-related hazards can be forecast ahead of the impact, allowing time for action in the window between a forecast and a disaster,” the aid agency’s annual disaster report says. “Without investments in risk reduction, in community resilience and in anticipatory approaches, many people will continue to be left behind.”

Funding for disaster risk-reduction programs remains very small, accounting for just 0.5% of official development assistance in 2016, despite its obvious benefits, the Red Cross says.

“We recommend all governments (including donors) and humanitarian organisations invest much more heavily in community resilience and local response capacities before disasters and other crises.

“This means scaling up the use of anticipatory funding for predictable and recurrent hazards in international and domestic response systems, and promoting legal and policy frameworks for disaster risk management that focus on the needs of the most vulnerable people.”

Weather index insurance, which is gaining significant attention and investment, may be a useful tool for certain risks. The UK’s insurance-focused Centre for Global Disaster Protection and a G20 project to bring insurance to 400 million people are examples of how the industry can play a constructive role, the Red Cross says.

Weather-related events accounted for 84% of the 3751 natural hazards recorded in the decade to last year. Natural disasters last year left a $472 billion damage bill.