Pupils at Wadoi Primary School in Papua, Indonesia during a disaster education and preparedness drill sponsored by AusAID. Photo by: UN ISDR / CC BY-NC-ND

Colombia is one of the few U.N. priority countries for disaster resilience that has received more funds for disaster preparedness and prevention activities than emergency response.

Some $858.67 million went to the South American country between 2005 and 2010, 64 percent of which went to disaster preparedness and prevention, and the remaining 36 percent for emergency response activities.

This is however not the same for Mali, another priority country of the U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction which has high vulnerability to natural disasters but low economic resilience to cope with them.

Up to 99 percent of the $93.53 million the African country received in the same period went to emergency response. Only $417,310 was meant for disaster preparedness and prevention.

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An overall look on the information in the Disaster Aid Tracking Database launched on Tuesday at 2013 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva reveals the problem of how little amount of money goes to this purpose.

Only 14 percent of some $92 billion of international aid meant to deal with natural disasters was spent on disaster preparedness and prevention in the last two decades. More than half of that money went to emergency response (61 percent).

While the database only has data until 2010, the information shows why there is an increasing call for more investment in disaster resilience, with losses to natural calamities feared to top $189 billion a year.

Disaster finance tracking however is still in its early days, and as ODI’s Jan Kellett notes in his presentation at the same side event where the database was launched, there remains a large need for better tracking of disaster risk management aid flows against donors’ country level plans and priorities.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.