2 Aug 2011

World Bank encouraging Pacific states to set aside funds in disaster preparedness

7:57 pm on 2 August 2011

The World Bank says it wants to help more small island states to prioritise funding to better prepare for a natural disaster.

The bank is involved in a Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Finance initiative to help catalogue and respond to different threats to small island states.

The World Bank's sustainable development leader for Pacific programmes, Charles Feinstein, says smaller economies would struggle to save on their own resources.

But he says nations could solidify partnerships with aid donors for possible funds, and assess the cost benefit of balancing expenditure with their disaster profile.

"We feel that there's been an over emphasis to date on the traditional Rs, recovery reconstruction type activities, things that will happen after the disaster strikes. It's probably time to devote more attention and resources on the pre disaster efforts, the prevention type and preparedness measures."

Mr Feinstein says the bank's studies shows that a disaster usually increases fiscal deficit by one percent and governments could save a similar amount in preparedness funds.