Natural Hazard Risk
Peru is a country with very high seismicity. Over the past 400 years, it has been hit by at least 30 major earthquakes. The concentration of the population in cities and their exposure to seismic hazard constitute the country’s greatest disaster risk. In 2007, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck the southern coast, killing 520 people, collapsing thousands of homes and buildings, and severely damaging health and education infrastructure. Currently, more than 64 percent of schools are highly vulnerable to earthquakes, putting more than 600,000 children at risk in Lima alone.
Water resources are one of the country’s main development concerns. Climate change, deforestation, and watershed degradation exacerbate concerns by increasing the effects of flooding and droughts. These conditions contribute to water scarcity and pollution, which limit water for drinking, agriculture, and other uses.
Peru is also exposed to recurring hazard risks from tsunamis in coastal regions, volcanic eruption from the country’s 15 active volcanoes, and landslides in valleys and mountainous areas.
Peru has been proactive in developing its disaster risk reduction policies and procedures. In 2011, the country established a comprehensive national disaster risk management system, which moved the agenda from preparedness and emergency response toward a risk management approach.
The National Plan for Disaster Risk Management, approved by executive decree in 2012, aims to promote a culture of prevention and to contribute directly to the sustainable development process at the national, regional, and local levels. In tandem, the Ministry of Economy and Finance created the Directorate of Risk Management to increase disaster contingency funds.
Further, Peru’s strategic development plan, the 2021 Bicentennial Plan, identifies adaptation to climate change as one of five strategic priorities under the Environment and Natural Resources pillar.
To continue advancing its DRM agenda, the Peruvian government’s priorities include:
- Enhancing preparedness and resilience to climate-induced hazards such as floods and droughts;
- Developing regional, provincial, and district government capacity for risk reduction policy design and delivery;
- Increasing fiscal resilience to disasters; and,
- Ensuring critical infrastructure and productive sectors are disaster resilient.
In 2008, GFDRR support helped the Peruvian Government develop and execute an emergency reconstruction program in response to the magnitude 8.0 earthquake in 2007. Since then, GFDRR has focused on supporting the country to mobilize resources during and after disasters and on applying risk-related data for better decision-making to reduce seismic vulnerability of critical infrastructure, with an emphasis on schools.
In 2010, GFDRR financed technical assistance and policy analysis that provided critical inputs for the preparation of a $100 million World Bank Development Policy Loan with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (CAT DDO). The government requested in 2015 a second World Bank $400 million CAT-DDO, which is currently active. GFDRR analysis underpinned the CAT-DDO’s efforts to strengthen the DRM institutional and legal framework. It provides quick liquidity to respond to disasters and works to efficiently allocate public resources for DRM, strengthens infrastructure policy for schools and housing and for flood protection, and increases the government’s capacity for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.
From 2010 to 2013, GFDRR supported the National Seismological Service of the Peruvian Geophysical Institute to develop seismic probabilistic hazard maps and models using a free resource, the Probabilistic Risk Assessment Program (CAPRA). Results indicated that about 8 percent of school buildings in Lima and Callao complied with seismic-resistant design standards. Building on these findings in 2013 and 2014, GFDRR supported the Ministry of Education to conduct the first nationwide school infrastructure census of an estimated 50,000 public school facilities. This census is now being used to develop and implement a National School infrastructure Plan to construct, rehabilitate, replace, improve, and maintain school infrastructure countrywide with support from GFDRR.
Ultimately, GFDRR support prompted a $24 million government investment in a multi-year program to retrofit 350 of the country’s most vulnerable schools. The government plans to retrofit more than 12,000 schools in total.
GFDRR anticipates on-going demand from the Government of Peru for the following activities:
- Scaling-up the risk management practices of urban water utilities;
- Reducing fiscal vulnerabilities in light of frequent natural disasters; and,
- Integrating hazard and risk information in Peru's infrastructure planning and investment decision-making.