I am struggling to explore why, commonsense does not inspire such investments in the first place?
Clearly, increased investments in disaster prevention, mitigation and adaptation will increase safety, reduce loss of lives and protect livelihoods. Seeking such investments from earmarks within development budgets become difficult because these requests are 'disaster related' and get redirected to 'humanitarian' budgets. But prevention and mitigation activities are not designated as ‘relief and recovery’ and therefore can’t be justified from humanitarian budgets. A cyclical problem no doubt.
Also, we do not have well developed ideas on the elements and ingredients of what good disaster prevention measures across various sectors constitute and so we have not been able to estimate the cost of exactly what level of investments are needed by sector. If we don’t work out the numbers, we can’t make a convincing argument of how much, when and where must be invested.
As a priority, we need to get better at thinking through the incremental cost of resilience, i.e. the additional cost of making a development investment (school, hospital, rural livelihood asset) disaster proof.
This would help demonstrate that if included in original development projects, plans and budgets, the initial costs of disaster prevention, mitigation and adaptation would ensure that large investments do not get washed away in the next flood or mudslide, or worse, collapse and kill students or patients in a poorly built school or hospital - which in a further ignominy is then not available to perform its normal function, in the aftermath of a disaster.