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Disasters

Rebuilding communities after disasters – four and a half lessons learned

Abhas Jha's picture

Rebuilding after Cyclone Idai. (Photo: Denis Onyodi / IFRC/DRK/Climate Centre via Flickr CC)

The death toll from Cyclone Idai that ripped into Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi in March 2019 is now above 1,000, with damages estimated at $2 billion. In 2018, more than 10,000 people lost their lives in disasters (with $225 billion of economic losses). Approximately 79 percent of fatalities occurred in the Asia Pacific region, including the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. In fact, 2017 and 2018 have been estimated as the most expensive back-to-back years for weather disasters, totaling $653 billion of losses.

Protection from cyclones: Benefits of integrating green and gray infrastructure

Susmita Dasgupta's picture

When cyclones strike: massive flooding is a major threat to lives and property in low-lying coastal areas

As one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the entire Southern Hemisphere, cyclone Idai caused disastrous damages and loss of life in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Madagascar. Records to date of this category 3 cyclone indicate severe flooding and strong winds (10-minute sustained wind of 195 km/h and gusts up to 280 km/h), affecting more than 2.5 million people. The current death toll from Idai is 843 people (though many people remain missing and the death toll will continue to rise). Catastrophic damage occurred in and around the port city of Beira in southern Mozambique, where Idai produced a storm surge of 4.4 m (14 ft); severe wind and flood damage occurred well away from the point of landfall.
 

Pritthijit (Raja) Kundu

Cyclone Idai: Building climate and disaster resilience in Mozambique and beyond

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
Mozambique after Cyclone Idai. Photo by Denis Onyodi / IFRC / DRK / Climate Centre via Flickr CC

Cyclone Idai is one of the most devastating storms to ever hit Africa, causing catastrophic damage in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.
 
Starting off in early March 2019 as a tropical depression, the storm rapidly evolved into a cyclone, affecting over 2 million people and killing close to 1,000 in the three countries affected. The port city of Beira, Mozambique – the hardest hit – is struggling to reemerge from the rubble.

#BuildBetterBefore to save lives and strengthen economies

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
 

For those of us who have family and friends living in earthquake and hurricane prone areas, the 1.3 million people that have died in disasters in the last 25 years are more than a staggering statistic. It’s personal.

In this video, Luis Triveno (@luis_triveno), Urban Specialist, sits down with Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez (@Ede_WBG), Senior Director, to discuss what the World Bank is doing to make homes safer – before it’s too late.

How can we use analytical approaches to generate urban climate investments in Africa?

Prashant Kapoor's picture
As the world rushes to reduce the negative impacts of climate change, ambitious sub-national actors are rising to the fore. The recent One Planet Summit exemplifies this trend. Earlier this month, urban leaders joined CEOs, financial institutions, researchers, Heads of State, and more in the adoption of the Africa Pledge, calling for immediate voluntary actions and a specific commitment to invest in sustainable infrastructure across the continent. After all, the infrastructure investments we make today set the agenda for how cities will grow in the future.

For example, Sub-Saharan Africa is largely rural, but is also the region with the fastest urbanization rates. Currently, almost 40 percent of the people live in cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, but this is expected to grow to 60 percent or more by 2050. So while urbanization provides economic and social opportunity, it can overburden traditional municipal resource and service delivery approaches.
 
Figure 1: Urban and Rural Population Growth Rate - excluding high income countries (Source: World Development Indicators)

Changing impact of weather and climate services in response to changing climate

Anna-Maria Bogdanova's picture
Image credit: Elena11 / Shutterstock
Have you ever wondered what your national meteorological agency actually does? I suppose it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that they can help you decide how to dress, whether or not to carry an umbrella, or water the garden. But their purpose is so much bigger than that.

National meteorological and hydrological services (NMHSs) are responsible for helping people understand, predict and warn of weather- and water-related hazards such as storms, floods, and hurricanes.

India: How to help communities break the vicious "disaster-poverty" cycle

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
 

Natural disasters push the near poor to below the poverty line & contribute to more persistent and severe poverty, creating poverty traps. Impacts on their livelihood pushes them further down the poverty line and as they own few assets it is very difficult for them to break this cycle.
Poor are caught up in and disaster-poverty vicious circle- are more likely to reside in hazardous locations and in substandard housing exposing them more to disasters. Poor households in disasters use harmful coping strategies, such as reducing expenditures on food, health, & education or increasing incomes by sending children to work.

The road to recovery: Rebuilding the transport sector after a disaster

Melody Benavidez's picture
Transport and disaster recovery

In the Paradise, California fires of November 2018, a range of factors coalesced leaving 86 people dead and over 13,900 homes destroyed. Fueling the fires were gale-force winds that when combined with the area’s institutional and infrastructural challenges led to one of the deadliest fires in California history.

When Paradise was developed, the road network was built to maximize buildable space for homes. However, as the Paradise fires demonstrated, in the event of a large-scale disaster, the road network inhibited community-wide evacuation. Paradise featured nearly 100 miles of private roads that dead-ended on narrow overlooks with few connector streets. As wind rapidly accelerated the fire throughout the community, residents trying to flee found themselves on roads paralyzed by traffic for hours on end. Evacuation routes turned into fire traps. Local officials went on to say that the miracle of the tragedy was how many people escaped.

The Paradise example demonstrates the importance of transport networks for allowing swift evacuation during the response phase, and also hints at how important effective recovery of the transport network will be in Paradise, California. In the aftermath of any significant disaster event, it is the roads, railways and ports that underpin the restoration of economic activity and the reconstruction of critical infrastructure after a disaster. In the aftermath of devastating floods, earthquakes, landslides, or typhoons, roads may be rendered unusable, making it more expensive to transport goods and services as well as preventing people from earning income. As such, having multiple ways to get from point A to point B, by modality and by route, is critical to continued connectivity. The recovery phase can be the impetus to reexamine vulnerable links in the transport network and address those deficiencies to help reduce future risks and strengthen the economic and physical resilience of people and infrastructure assets.

The gender gap in the disaster risk management sector: why it matters

Caren Grown's picture

Over the past decade, the practice of disaster risk management (DRM) has evolved and matured.  From mainly focusing on disaster response, local and international actors alike now emphasize the importance of preparedness and prevention – saving lives and avoiding losses even before disaster strikes.

What if we could use nature to prevent disasters?

Brenden Jongman's picture
 

Heavy rain and severe flooding brought the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka, to its knees. In China’s Yangtze River Basin, rivers spilled their banks, inundating towns and villages. In Mobile Bay, Alabama, strong ocean waves carried away valuable coastline.

In each of these locations, disasters caused by natural hazards seemed beyond human control. But instead of focusing only on building more drains, seawalls and dams, these governments turned to nature for protection from the disasters. Several years later, the urban wetlands, oyster reefs and flood plains they helped establish are now keeping their citizens safe while nourishing the local economies.

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