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Assessing the Real Cost of Disasters

The Need for Better Evidence

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Disasters disrupt socio-economic activities and cause substantial damage. Yet, their full economic impact remains largely unknown, especially the cost of smaller disasters and indirect impacts such as those due to business disruptions. Similarly, little information exists on the total amount of public resources that countries devote to disaster risk management. Reliable, comprehensive and comparable data on the economic impact of disasters as well as on public spending on disaster management and risk prevention are essential for developing effective disaster risk management policies. This report provides an overview of countries' efforts to improve the quality and quantity of information on the costs of disasters.

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Introduction

Most OECD countries are periodically exposed to intense natural hazards, as well as man-made threats. A recent OECD-wide survey on the Governance of Critical Risks In the second semester of 2016 data were collected for 34/39 Adherents to the Recommendation on the Governance of Critical Risks (Only the Czech Republic, Belgium, Hungary, Morocco and Tunisia did not respond). showed that sudden on-set natural hazards, such as storms, floods, forest fires and earthquakes are considered a critical risk in more countries than other types of risks, such as man-made hazards (e.g. industrial accidents, cyber-attacks and terrorism). Despite concerted efforts in disaster risk reduction across OECD countries, major disasters continue to cause significant disruptions to socio-economic activities.

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