An ounce of prevention: The case for Disaster Risk Management - Oct 2008
One dollar spent in disaster prevention, the experts tell us, is worth four dollars spent in disaster response. Business companies have to find the math compelling…
It was Benjamin Franklin, who said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Hard logic to dispute, certainly, and, in the context of disasters, logic that takes on new meaning. One dollar spent in disaster prevention, the experts tell us, is worth four dollars spent in disaster response. Business companies have to find the math compelling. Somehow, though, despite the good sense it makes, disaster risk management is one of our sector’s lesser known secrets.
We have certainly focused on developing expertise in responding to disasters.And there is nothing wrong with that, of course. How much better, though, if we could find ways to prevent disasters from happening at all, or, at the very least,reduce their impact?
- Fewer people killed.
- Fewer people wounded or disabled.
- Fewer buildings, bridges and rail tracks destroyed.
- Fewer supply lines disrupted for the business community.
- Fewer dollars needed for recovery.
It is often said that “It’s not earthquakes that kill people. It’s buildings.” While two earthquakes might measure the same on the Richter scale, the one may flatten a village in Bam while the other simply breaks a few windows in Japan. The difference? One was built according to particular standards. The other was not.
As business companies look for the best use of their resources in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development programmes, the question of Disaster Risk Management demands their attention. Not only is it good for the environment where companies operate. It is good for them: their own survival, continuity and resilience in the face of natural disasters.
Which business sectors are a ‘fit’?
- Financial sector, including insurance, re-insurance and micro-insurance sectors
- Construction, with its ability to adhere to acceptable standards in basic construction, its capacity to retrofit, and its adroitness at emergency construction
- Telecommunications & information technology, with their ability to design services for early warning dissemination and enhance hazard monitoring systems
- Logistics and transport, with their ability to facilitate business continuity activities such as contingency service plans and supply chain resilience
- Media groups, with their ability to partner with other actors to raise disaster reduction awareness
- City planners, with their capacity to engage with government on land use planning
- Healthcare & pharmaceuticals
- Extractive industries
If your company is interested in exploring disaster risk management, fill out a form expressing your thoughts about engagement.
FOOTNOTE: For more information on Disaster Risk Management, see: