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Mapping financial flows for disasters: strengthening resilience and response to crises

Research reports

Written by Lena Weingärtner

Hero image description: A child pumps water at the village well, Mchinji, Malawi Image credit:IFPRI Image license:CC-BY-NC-ND

Disasters related to floods, droughts, hurricanes or other natural hazards threaten lives and livelihoods of affected populations and impact national economies. Emergency response, recovery and reconstruction from disasters are costly and ex post financial flows such as international humanitarian aid that aim to help address financial needs are often unpredictable and late. Under current disaster financing systems, relatively little money is made
available to reduce or mitigate expected impacts and prepare in advance, even when forecasts indicate that an event is likely to occur.

Before, during and after a disaster, there can be a great variety of financial flows directed towards different actors to help them prepare for, mitigate and address disaster impacts. This includes flows from various international, regional or domestic public and private sources, which are delivered through a diversity of channels. Often, flows pass through several institutions from origin to destination, for instance when funds from multiple donors are pooled.

In an effort to contribute towards a better understanding of financial flows for disasters, this report aims to:
(1) identify available data and methodologies and explore whether these could support a global database to track disaster-related financial flows, and
(2) map financial flows for three recent case studies to outline the scope and limitations of available information.

The case studies presented in this report include Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda in the Philippines, the 2015/2016 El Niño-induced drought in Malawi and Hurricane Maria in Dominica in 2017.