From mapping hazard-prone urban areas in Tanzania to providing drought early warnings, disaster risk management professionals are finding new applications of machine learning (ML) at a rapid pace.
In disaster risk management, ML can help create actionable information faster and at lower cost: whether evaluating satellite imagery to determine flooded areas; processing street-level photography to identify structural characteristics of buildings; or assessing urban growth patterns to understand future vulnerabilities.
Over the past 20 years, floods have displaced more Indonesians than any other disaster type, causing significant damage and disrupting local economies. The poor and vulnerable often bear the brunt of flood hazards and are affected disproportionately. They tend to live in hazardous areas such as dense settlements situated below flood levels, highly-exposed coastal areas, and along riverbanks that often overflow. They also often have limited access to financial services and basic support to cope with the aftermath of flood events.
While many South Asian governments have made significant and important strides towards addressing social inclusion issues in DRM policies and frameworks, there often remains a gap in translating these commitments into de facto actions on the ground.
With support from the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the World Bank recently completed a strategic review of Moldova’s disaster risk management (DRM) and climate resilience challenges, highlighting opportunities for the country to shift from a reactive, ex post DRM system to a more proactive, ex ante approach.
The world cannot get back on track reducing poverty without rising to the challenges of climate change. We must help the poorest countries adapt and become more resilient. This effort is not just about building dikes and cyclone shelters, but about improving the well-being of people – their health, education, access to clean water, sanitation, and jobs – as well as protecting biodiversity and the ecosystems that sustain lives and economies.
Today, there is growing recognition that climate and conflict are linked. A 2015 meta-analysis found that a rise in local temperatures of half a degree Celsius is associated with a 10-20% increase in the risk of deadly conflict. Analyses building on this work suggest that certain areas of the world and populations are at higher risk, including agricultural societies that exhibit high levels of political exclusion.
The World Bank Group is raising the bar on gender equality, by emphasizing outcomes and monitoring results of its interventions in client countries. So, what does this mean for our work in disaster risk management (DRM)?
Water utilities must act now to ensure water security for millions of Indonesians. To do so, we’ll need to enhance resilience through risk-based planning and engineering design, and be better prepared to respond rapidly in an emergency.