Ambitious plans to help two million people build resilience

Ambitious plans to help two million people cope with climate change and build resilience to natural hazards like floods By Flood Resilience Portal | November 7, 2020

From Peru to Indonesia, climate vulnerable people have acted to cope with climate change and build community resilience to natural hazards, thanks to support from the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance (The Alliance).

According to its latest report published to mark International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Alliance reveals that, 24 months into a five-year global program that will eventually reach 2 million people, 170,000 have so far been reached in communities vulnerable to climate change.

Karen MacClune from Alliance member ISET said, “We work alongside communities in countries such as Peru, Bangladesh, and the Philippines to help them cope with climate change, build their resilience to flooding, and strengthen their disaster risk reduction practices. We also strive to influence decision-makers to improve policies and commit more funds to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.”

Examples include the Alliance facilitating the establishment of community groups and brigades in Nicaragua and Mexico to help manage community flood risk and build flood resilience. Members of these groups were trained on a number of different topics to support flood resilience, from evacuation and emergency planning to communication with local authorities. These efforts helped strengthen relationships between local government and their communities.

When the COVID-19 crisis emerged, these groups were well placed to utilize their skills and to leverage relationships fostered to manage the impacts of the pandemic in their communities.

The Alliance has been successful in influencing donor and private sector funding commitments, too. “By July this year, the Alliance helped shape $243 million of commitments and spending on flood resilience and other disaster risk reduction activities. This is a fantastic start, however by 2024 we have ambitious plans to help secure $1billion worth of funding commitments for flood resilience,” said Ann Vaughan, advocacy lead at Mercy Corps for the Alliance.

Two years into the five-year disaster risk reduction program and the Alliance is making significant progress helping communities cope with climate change. However, Michael Szoenyi, Flood Resilience Program Lead at Zurich Insurance Company Ltd says there is much more work to be done.

“We are beginning to see evidence of improved disaster risk management in the communities and countries we work with, and increased stakeholder mobilisation on the need for flood resilience.

But it will take time for us to see the results of the policies we’re helping to improve, whether or not flood resilience spending commitments are honored and how improved investment impacts the lives of the vulnerable.

We’re committed to working alongside people whom are the most vulnerable to weather-related events like floods. We view this as a long-term partnership, bringing together our combined expertise in building resilience to natural hazards, influencing governments to invest in climate and disaster resilience, and harnessing the power of people in local communities whom are dedicated to reducing risk and supporting climate change adaptation. This is essential to help climate vulnerable communities thrive and prosper in a changing climate, post COVID19 world.”

The Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance finds practical ways to help save lives by strengthening community resilience to floods globally. Established in 2013, the nine-member alliance, with the exception of Zurich Insurance Group, is funded by the Zurich Foundation.

This article was originally published by the Flood Resilience Portal.


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