Dealing with disasters

Exactly two years ago today, Nepal was hit by a massive earthquake, followed by numerous aftershocks that caused widespread human casualties and property damage. About 8,790 people died and 22,300 others were injured in the tremors, which affected more than 8 million people in 31 of the country’s 75 districts, 14 of which were severely hit. Half a million houses collapsed, and another 250,000 were damaged. Total economic losses from the disaster were estimated at $7 billion.

Nepal’s earthquake in 2015 is a vivid reminder that a country needs a huge amount of money when a major disaster strikes. But countries should not depend on donor aid. Instead, they need to make greater efforts to prepare, through disaster risk financing, for the inevitable financial cost of a major disaster. Many disaster-prone countries in Asia and Pacific receive donor assistance for post-disaster relief and reconstruction. —