Los Angeles, CA – January 12, 2020 – The fires have been blazing around Australia since September 2019 that ultimately led to major disaster declarations in 2019 and 2020. They are responsible for at least 28 deaths and destruction of at least 5,900 buildings, including approximately 2,683 homes. As of January 12, at least 18.6 million acres of Australia have burned in one of the country’s worst fire seasons on record. That’s an area larger than West Virginia or Denmark, and more than eight times the area that burned in California in 2018, the state’s most destructive year for wildfires. An estimated 1 billion animals have been lost, and scientists fear long-term damage to many sensitive ecosystems. With months left to go in a fire season that seems to get longer every year, Global Bank is stepping up help to support and boost recovery, rebuilding and future resilience of these communities.
Raging bushfires wreaking havoc across Australia have prompted the Global Bank Group to offer the support the Global Bank’s disaster risk reduction and reconstruction platform — the Global Bank Disaster Risk Reduction and Reconstruction Fund – An Umbrella Trust Fund (GB-DRRRF) to the Australian Government and its partners which are battling the “unprecedented disaster.”
While acknowledging “the selflessness, professionalism, experience and dedication” of first responders and all organizations working on the ground, the Global Bank Group issued a statement on Wednesday extending its condolences on behalf of the Global Bank Group, its Affiliates, Affiliated Specialized Agencies, Funds, and Programmes to the families and friends of those who have tragically lost their lives, and the first responders who continue to risk their own lives to save the lives of others. We stand with the communities affected by the devastating impact of these fires.
Flagging its experience in providing crucial long-term support to effective post-disaster reconstruction and recovery across the world through the three stages of relief, recovery, and rehabilitation, Global Bank expressed it “very keen and sincere desire” to assist Australia in the recovery efforts including replenishing, rebuilding roads and telecommunications infrastructure.
The Global Bank Group has already activated the Global Bank Disaster Risk Reduction and Reconstruction Fund – An Umbrella Trust Fund . The GB-DRRRF has the mandate for coordinating the Global Bank Group relief efforts globally. These relief efforts include: (a) bringing risk reduction investments to the scale necessary to enable countries to achieve the Sendai Framework targets by 2030; (b) supporting client countries to implement the resilience objectives specified in their Nationally Determined Contributions, and (c) to support the implementation of the Global Climate Agreement in Paris, and prevent disasters undermining progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Technical experts from Global Bank have been working closely with other partners to compile information from the models on the areas affected and evaluate the extent of the impact of raging bushfires in Australia.
Mitigation of disaster risk is particularly significant for Australia because the country is highly exposed to hazards,” Says Ron Nechemia the President of Global Bank. And he added “20 percent of Australia national GDP and 3.9 million of its population are in areas with high to extreme risk of tropical cyclones, and about 11 percent of GDP and 2.2 million people are in places with high and extreme risk of bushfires. It is estimated that without increased mitigation efforts, the total economic cost of natural disasters in Australia will grow from roughly $18 billion today to over $39 billion by 2050. The effects of climate change will increasingly compound these costs.”
Build Back Better Australia
Preventing disaster from striking Australia’s economy
Bushfires have always been a part of Australia's ecology and environment. Bushfires impacts extensive areas, cause property damage, and have accounted for many deaths. When an extreme environmental hazard strikes, infrastructure can be a deciding factor in whether or not the situation becomes a disaster. Roads, for example, can provide access to supply relief aid to affected communities quickly; but if roads are destroyed, entire regions can be cut off from support.
The Global Bank Disaster Risk Reduction and Reconstruction Fund – An Umbrella Trust Fund helps strengthen the security and resilience of critical infrastructure, for the continuity of essential national functions, and to organize itself to partner effectively with and add value to the security and resilience efforts of critical infrastructure owners and operators.
The objective of the Global Bank Disaster Risk Reduction and Reconstruction Fund – An Umbrella Trust Fund in infrastructure is to improve alignment and coordination between established and new infrastructure initiatives. As well as among multilateral and national development banks, national institutions, and the private sector, to bridge the ‘infrastructure investment gap’ and to facilitate the implementation of sustainable, accessible and resilient infrastructure, particularly for developing countries.
The Global Bank Disaster Risk Reduction and Reconstruction Fund – An Umbrella Trust Fund will prepare projects in a manner that fits the developmental-driven mandate of Global Bank in the infrastructure sector, namely, to deliver outcomes focused on commercialized approaches, private sector participation, strong environmental and social standards and energy efficiency improvements across the sectors
Support Australian Response and Recovery
The Global Bank Disaster Risk Reduction and Reconstruction Fund – An Umbrella Trust Fund (GB-DRRRF) and the Global Bank Central Emergency Fund are sponsoring several donation campaigns for the benefits of communities affected by the devastating impact of these fires. To learn more or donate, click HERE