OCHA and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) today launched a new animation video highlighting the urgent need to invest more in preparing for and preventing natural disasters, which have claimed more than 1 million lives since 2000.
The video, Act Now, Save Later, is funded by OCHA and UNDP and produced by Ataboy. It highlights that every dollar of foreign aid spent on averting and mitigating disasters saves an average of US$7 in humanitarian disaster response. The video also shows how practical solutions, such as building retaining walls and earthquake-resistant structures, and distributing drought-resistant seeds, can help avert the devastating effects of disasters.
Since 2000, it is estimated that floods, cyclones, tsunamis, earthquakes and other natural hazards have cost the world more than $1 trillion in destruction. Last year, natural disasters including the drought in the Horn of Africa, and earthquakes and floods in Asia and Latin America killed almost 26,000 people. The estimated cost of these disasters was $380 billion, making 2011 the most expensive year in history.
Despite the increased frequency of extreme weather events around the world, only 1 per cent of international aid funding has been spent on disaster risk reduction over the past few years. The UN estimates that an investment of about 10 per cent of international development assistance per year could help avert the enormous cost of destruction and help communities cope better with future disasters.
OCHA has been working with UNDP and other development partners to make sure that building the resilience of people and communities is at the forefront of humanitarian response. In countries that are affected by drought, such as Somalia, humanitarian response plans include projects to build back livelihoods and agricultural assets to help people recover from years of recurrent crises so that they are better prepared for future emergencies, whether they are climate related, social or political.
OCHA also works with local authorities to develop national disaster response and preparedness plans in disaster-prone countries such as the Philippines.