Dull Disasters?
Daniel J. Clarke
Dull Disasters?

Economic losses from disasters are now reaching an average of US$250–$300 billion a year. In the last 20 years, more than 530,000 people died as a direct result of extreme weather events; millions more were seriously injured. Most of the deaths and serious injuries were in developing countries. Meanwhile, highly infectious diseases will continue to emerge or re-emerge, and natural hazards will not disappear. But these extreme events do not need to turn into large-scale disasters. Better and faster responses are possible. The authors contend that even though there is much generosity in the world to support the responses to and recovery from natural disasters, the current funding model, based on mobilizing financial resources after disasters take place, is flawed and makes responses late, fragmented, unreliable, and poorly targeted, while providing poor incentives for preparedness or risk reduction. The way forward centres around reforming the funding model for disasters, moving towards plans with simple rules for early action and that are locked in before disasters through credible funding strategies—all while resisting the allure of post-disaster discretionary funding and the threat it poses for those seeking to ensure that disasters have a less severe impact.

Dull Disasters? How Planning Ahead Will Make a Difference
1: Dealing with Disasters: It should and can get better
What Does This Book Do?
The Evidence?
A Focus on Natural Disasters
Let’s Dull Disasters!
Recapping . . .
2: Defining the Problem: Begging bowls and benefactors
A Flawed Funding Model
The Consequences
Procrastination and Delays
Crying Wolf
Fragmented Responses
Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness
Moving Beyond a Medieval System of Finance
Recapping . . .
A Snapshot of the Literature
3: Bring in the Professionals
The Politics of Credible Pre-Disaster Plans
The Scientists
The Bureaucrats
Pulling Together the Parties
Drawing Up the Plan
The Implementers
The Financiers
Avoiding Hot Air and Getting Results
Embracing Pre-Disaster Planning
Recapping . . .
A Snapshot of the Literature
4: Planning for Disaster Recovery: Changing the default setting
The Flaws of Human Decision Making
It Isn’t Rocket Science (or Is It?)
All Systems Go
Lessons from Insurance
Applying Rules-Based Approaches to Disaster Planning
For Benefactors, a New Strategy
Recapping . . .
A Snapshot of the Literature
5: Finance as the Glue
Can Financial Instruments Replace a Disaster Plan?
Thinking Like an Insurance Company
Preparing Like an Insurance Company
Choosing among Financial Instruments
The Challenges and Opportunities of Ex Ante Instruments
Acting Like an Insurance Company
The Building Blocks of a Better System
Recapping . . .
A Snapshot of the Literature
6: Moving Forward
Why Are We Even Talking about This?
What Is the Solution?
What Are the Challenges?
Making Difficult Pre-Disaster Trade-offs
Providing Protection, Not Relief
Getting Others to Pay Their Share
Learning by Doing and Having a Backup
Getting Started: Taking the First Steps
Dulling Disasters, Now!
Recapping . . .
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
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