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“It is a sad commentary on how aid is media-driven that official aid agencies and NGOs will make a huge effort for disaster relief and virtually no effort for prevention. This report courageously makes the case for redressing the balance. It dramatizes as never before that “natural disasters” are not so natural—prevention failures cost myriad lives, usually among the poorest. It issues a challenge: reverse the shameful neglect of prevention so as to save those lives.” —WILLIAM EASTERLY, author of The White Man’s Burden (2006) “It is the moral and ethical duty of all humanitarian and development workers to ensure that every dollar is well spent. Thus this study is an essential primer for all policy makers and practitioners concerned with disaster risk reduction and recovery—even more so in this age of frugal necessity. In building community safety and resilience, sensible spending, greater transparency, and accountability are essential to do more, do better, and reach further in tackling the most significant vulnerabilities that confront humanity. This report highlights the need for increased resources and innovative partnerships, in line with the Red Cross and Red Crescent experience, which shows that it really pays to invest in disaster prevention.” —BEKELE GELETA, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies “This book is a must-read for policy makers and concerned individuals all over the world. For too long, leaders have done too little to prevent the transformation of natural hazards into (un)natural disasters, and then moved too slowly once they occur. And now the risks are growing with rapid urbanization and climate change. This book organizes vast amounts of material into compelling analyses and clear messages, and the authors put forward pragmatic policy suggestions that blend market incentives with ‘smart’ regulation and sound governance principles. They need to be taken seriously.” —SRI MULYANI INDRAWATI, Managing Director, World Bank; Former Minister of Finance, Indonesia “Warning people of impending hazards saves lives and livelihoods. But we can still do better as shown in this excellent report! With clear arguments, statements, and evidence, it is a convincing call for governments the world over to improve the detection and forecasting of hazards risks, and to develop better warnings for sectoral planning to reduce human and economic losses that are setting back socio-economic development. Improvement of early warning systems is clearly an investment in sustainable development, as demonstrated in many countries where benefits exceed costs many times over.” —MICHEL JARRAUD, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization “When a natural hazard strikes innocent victims, people from around the world pitch in to help. It is incumbent on policy makers to make sure that this generosity is well-used. This report is one of the first to treat hazards from an economic perspective of value-for-money. That lens— dismal at it may seem—provides crucial insights on why we should spend more on preventive action (and why we don’t), on why reliance on formal rules and planning does not always work, and on why we need to think of disaster risk prevention in broader developmental terms. The report provides a detailed, welcome, and timely blueprint for reducing disasters in a period when natural hazards appear to be on the rise.” —HOMI KHARAS, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Profile for World Bank Group Publications

Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention  

Earthquakes, droughts, floods, and storms are natural hazards, but unnatural disasters are the deaths and damages that result from human act...

Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention  

Earthquakes, droughts, floods, and storms are natural hazards, but unnatural disasters are the deaths and damages that result from human act...

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