UNDP ramps up support in wake of climate change and El Nino

News Hour:

As 2016 continues to shatter records as the hottest year on record, dozens of countries are feeling the impact through increased frequency and severity of weather events. From droughts to floods and storms, UNDP and partners are seeing increased demand for post-disaster needs assessments and recovery planning.

In terms of storms, February’s Cyclone Winston was the first Category 5 storm to directly impact Fiji , causing widespread damage and impacting over 500,000 people, roughly 62 percent of the population. Damages and losses were estimated at F$ 1.98 billion1 (Fijian dollars), while recovery needs were estimated at F$1.98 billion.

Aside from storms, droughts in Angola, Malawi and the Marshall Islands have affected millions, necessitating food and livelihood support. In the Marshall Islands, the country had received only a quarter of its usual November-February rainfall (the country relies on rain for 90 percent of usable water), while in Malawi – a country already recovering from massive floods in 2015 – estimates are that over 6.5 million people are unable to meet food requirements. In Angola, meanwhile, the drought has reportedly affected 1.4 million people as of April 2016.

“Climate change is clearly impacting the weather events across these countries,” notes Krishna Vatsa, UNDP’s Recovery Advisor. “And this is only being exacerbated by the El Nino phenomenon. More has to be done to support vulnerable communities to predict, plan, adapt and prepare. At the same time, we are trying, through our recovery assessments and planning, to ensure that lessons are learned and future disasters can be avoided.”

UNDP supports these countries in undertaking assessment of recovery needs and develop strategy to address them.

In fact, a resilient recovery process is a pillar in UNDP’s approach to climate and disaster resilience. Together with the World Bank, the European Union and the wider UN System, UNDP partners with disaster affected countries to undertake Post-Disaster Needs Assessment and recovery planning. These tools help countries assess damages and losses and put together a resilient recovery plan that builds back better while supporting resource mobilization.

“What shouldn’t happen in a post-disaster period – whether due to El Nino or otherwise – is a plethora of competing needs assessments and recovery plans,” notes Vatsa. “The PDNA and recovery framework really consolidate international support behind a Government plan, and for that reason it is an invaluable tool in building resilience.”

UNDP is currently developing a new global partnership on disaster risk reduction and recovery – ‘5-10-50’, covering 50 countries over 10 years in five critical areas, including resilient recovery.

Mridha Shihab Mahmud

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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