The United Nations (UN) global assessment report (GAR) on disaster risk released last week states India loses an estimated Rs. 60,915 Cr. annually on account of natural disasters. The figure includes an estimated Rs. 46,326 Cr. loss due to floods.
Next week in Sendai, Japan the UN member countries are meeting to sign a new Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) protocol. This protocol will replace the Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA) which came into existence in 2005, after the Indian Ocean tsunami. The DRR protocol will have a 10 year commitment plan period.
The assessment done for the last 10 years after the HFA was signed in 2005 and is the GAR 2015. On a global level an approximate loss of Rs. 18, 60,000 Cr. accrues annually due to climate change. The brunt of this loss is felt by the developing nations as they need to multiply their investment to support their population.
India which is part of the 14th finance commission grants, has pledged around Rs. 55,800 Cr. in the next five years for disaster management. These funds will be distributed to state and local bodies to invest in DRR. However, this seems difficult as the country already faces close to Rs. 62,000 Cr. loss due to disasters. India’s projected investments in infrastructure for the next five years is roughly Rs. 62, 00,000 Cr. This is a huge investment and proper measures have to be taken to make the infrastructure resilient to natural disasters/ calamities, otherwise there is risk that the investment would go down the drain.
The report also states that “an annual global investment of Rs. 37, 200 Cr. in disaster risk management strategies would generate total benefits in terms of risk reduction of Rs. 22, 32,000 Cr. This is equal to 20% reduction of annual losses. Around 48 lakh people are affected by disasters annually but if India doesn’t invest in DRR then the number would increase to 1.9 crore by the year 2030.