Extreme weather events have a direct impact on households' welfare, and
in particular, the poorest, most socially excluded populations.
Increasing frequency and intensity of disasters, such as earthquakes,
hurricanes and flooding, is closely linked to the growing vulnerability
of households and communities. Thus, the impacts of extreme events on
poverty, income, consumption, health and education present a serious
challenge to the well-being of these populations, and also produce
negative long-term consequences for economic and social development
across the region. In order to reduce the impacts of disasters on
existing economic and social disparities, Latin American countries are
implementing a range of initiatives that combine Disaster Risk
Management (DRM) approaches with poverty reduction measures, social
inclusion and the creation of jobs and productive activities. This Brief
presents some key experiences from across the region, with a focus on
urban governance, public investment systems and innovative insurance
mechanisms. The Brief then describes the main contextual factors that
explain why Latin American countries have made progress in these areas,
as well as on-going challenges and key lessons that may be useful for
It is possible to address the underlying causes of risk and reduce
poverty using existing tools and strategies. Waiting for higher levels
of economic development is unnecessary.
Preventative resettlement programmes can build resilience to risk and
improve the quality of life of the poorest and most vulnerable urban
Integrating DRM into public investment systems protects national
financial resources from the economic impacts of disasters, thereby
helping to maintain macro-economic stability, sustain growth and protect
poverty reduction efforts.
Watanabe, M. ELLA Policy Brief: Latin American Experience in Combining Disaster Risk Management with Poverty Reduction. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2013) 9 pp.