The Cost-Benefit of Cutting Disaster Risk

A future-looking report hits the resilience scene in August that underscores why preparing our communities for disruptions and disasters has become more important than ever, and how much resilience planning may save us in money, human effort, and lives disrupted or lost.

Packed with facts and figures, the “Global Assessment Report 2013” makes a great case for taking some of the trillions of dollars businesses are and will be investing in “hazard-exposed regions” around the world, and dedicating them to resilience. With hundreds of billions of dollars in direct disaster losses already recorded since 1981, resilience should be seen less as much a cost , states the report, and more as an opportunity to gain competitive advantage, ensure long-term business sustainability, and drive government spending on disaster risk reduction.

This year’s GAR release includes a fantastic stand-alone app for iPad, GAR for Tangible Earth (GfT). The free app enables users to explore and create different risk scenarios, compare water, weather, geological, and human activity data sets, and explore “good practices” in resilience.

The most amazing thing about the already-impressive GfT is that via the Tangible Earth platform, environmental data are updated hourly, including “near-real time weather…climate variations and “global warming” indicators, geological data such as earthquake and tsunami updates,” and even biosphere data such as animal migrations, air pollution circulation, and urbanization. These bring the app’s disaster scenarios and resilience contingencies out of the academy and into the real world, even at tablet scale.