Natural disasters bringing previously unimaginable chaos, heartbreak, and economic and social casualties are likely to increase in number and intensity in the coming years due to climate change.

They will affect everyone’s living standards, but the poor and vulnerable in particular will be hit harder – not only do they suffer the immediate impacts, but the environmental shocks can create significant shortfalls in health and education that can become permanent gaps.

Policymakers thus face a daunting double challenge. In addition to securing immediate order, rule of law, and the recovery of life and limb, they have to reckon with an increase in chronic poverty, other forms of material and social deprivation, and more permanent inequality for generations.

What if policymakers had access to a set of social policies and transfer programs which could be rolled out precisely when (or even before) they were needed by desperate households?