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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A building can be a home, a shelter, a place of work and learning. It can also be the most significant investment of a lifetime, the wealth-base of a household, and the foundation for a resilient society.
Images of Earth taken at night are revolutionizing our ability to measure and understand nearly every dimension of human activity on Earth and allow us to get a glimpse into human-Earth interactions in close to real time. The COVID-19 outbreak exemplifies how nighttime lights can help understand the impacts of shocks on populations, economies, and markets.
Risk is something we can collectively work to mitigate, and well-designed risk communication can play a vital role in ensuring that everyone – communities, producers, and decision-makers alike – understands this.