Author: Alvina Erman Jun Rentschler

Survey sheds light on how Caribbean, African firms are coping with natural hazards

Source(s): World Bank, the
Dar es Salaam Tanzania people in the business center
Svetlana Arapova/Shutterstock
Dar es Salaam Tanzania people in the business center

When private companies are affected by disasters, the impacts are felt by the whole society. It affects access to goods and services for people and other businesses, as well as jobs and recovery for afflicted communities. Businesses can be affected directly, by having their assets damaged, and indirectly when supply chains and infrastructure access are disrupted. However, the lack of data on how businesses experience and cope with shocks has made it difficult for governments to assess economic losses after a disaster, and to identify and prioritize actions. 

To address this gap, The Resilience Firm Survey (RFS) was developed. It is a survey instrument that explores the impacts of natural hazards on firms and the infrastructure services they rely on. So far, the RFS was applied in 13 countries in the Caribbean, focusing on the tourism sector, and in Tanzania, covering all sectors. Here we summarize four main findings:  

The RFS datasets and other materials from Tanzania and the Caribbean were recently published on the World Bank Microdata Library, and are available for download by requesting access directly on the site. If you are looking to understand how firms are affected by and cope with disaster impacts, the RFS can help you get started. The survey tool can be designed to capture data from different economic sectors or types of disaster to meet local needs.

More results from the Caribbean survey can be found in the background paper Resilience of the Caribbean Tourism Industry - New Evidence from a Firm Survey which supported the flagship report 360° Resilience: A Guide to Prepare the Caribbean for a New Generation of Shocks. Results from the Tanzania survey were published in the working paper Floods and Their Impacts on Firms: Evidence from Tanzania.

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