Pacific Island nations are among the countries most affected by natural disasters, according to a report released by the World Bank in June. In the first 9 months of 2011 — the costliest year on record in terms of natural disasters — losses in the East Asia Pacific region amounted to $259 billion, 80% of the world total.
The report, Strong, Safe and Resilient — A Strategic Policy Guide for Disaster Risk Management in the East Asia and the Pacific, calls for investing in green infrastructure and early warning systems based on real-time data and forecasting.
“Striking the right balance between investments in structural and non-structural measures is key,” writes the World Bank. “This includes ‘gray’ concrete and cost-effective ‘green’ infrastructure, such as establishing mangroves, wetland buffers and coastal restoration.”
Economic losses from global disasters were 15 times higher in the 1990s than in the 1950s. Rising costs are due in part to rapid urbanization, which not only worsens flooding but increases impacts. Read more.