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The latest insights on resilience and disaster risk management
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Have you ever invited representatives from different sectors to imagine their dream city? All around the table, designing their neighborhoods with wide public spaces and green areas, accessible platforms for cultural activities and even spaces that retain water to prevent flooding. There is an urban planning exercise that is just for that, and it is showcased by the experience of the Río Abajo basin in Panama City.

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Earlier this month, as the co-chair of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), I had the opportunity to participate in the GFDRR-hosted webinar on managing tropical storms during the COVID-19 crisis. I heard inspiring examples of how my peers in similar roles are leading responses in Vanuatu, the Caribbean, and Japan. 

 

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While rapid urbanization is creating economic growth, it is also changing the disaster risk profile of countries from predominantly rural — with drought and food security challenges — to predominantly urban, with floods, cyclones, landslides, and earthquakes. 

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At the time of writing, there are over 9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. Governments are racing to curb its spread, in part by ramping up social distancing policies. Many non-essential businesses are closed, and citizens have been asked (or ordered) to stay home—all with the goal of saving lives and livelihoods.

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The Kaalavastha podcast series aims to capture some of the stories behind how one state is building a more resilient future for itself . Through a series of 6 episodes, we dive deep into God’s Own Country, following multiple protagonists on this journey, and getting a behind-the-scenes perspective from the communities, government, scientists, diaspora, World Bank staff, and even the cultural voice of Kerala itself!

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Although the immediate approach is to respond to the health crisis, the financial risk associated with natural hazards does not cease to exist. One option to address this challenge is to establish, prior to disasters and emergencies, fiscal and financial protection strategies.

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When compared to densely populated areas, rural communities are more vulnerable to major health crises. So how do we support improved rural accessibility to hospitals in disaster-prone areas? One solution is geospatial data.

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Central America’s diverse population includes more than 60 groups of Indigenous Peoples, whose systems of cultural, economic, political, and social organization have developed over centuries.  These ethnic groups have been contributing throughout that time to what we now call disaster risk management (DRM) and adaptation to climate change with their own brand of knowledge, science, and traditional practices. 

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The government of Malawi is creating a better, more resilient built environment
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Risk is something we can collectively work to mitigate for a more resilient world.