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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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Public expenditures for disaster risk management: Assessing the state of the art

Information on public expenditure is an important element for effective and efficient resource allocation decisions in disaster risk reduction. For policy makers to understand how effectively their invested resources acted towards reducing losses of comparable disasters over time, knowledge on how much was spent on different measures is crucial. This chapter first introduces the value and approaches to identifying public expenditures for disaster risk management. It then outlines and discusses why country practices in that regard have been limited to a few expenditure reviews, existing evidence for which will be presented as well.

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