Disaster prevention: Is $1 a life too much?

The World Bank estimates that $10 TRILLION will be spent on disaster relief in the next decade if money is not directed toward pre-disaster risk reduction. Trivial amounts of money spent BEFORE a disaster can provide huge savings in resources and lives.
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LONDON (AlertNet) – Just over $1 would have saved a child from being buried alive in the Kashmir earthquake, says a report on disaster prevention. In Pakistan, 500 children were crushed to death when their school collapsed, yet it only costs around $700 to make a school quake-resistant.
Similarly, a dozen ocean floor sensors could have saved tens of thousands of people who died in the Indian Ocean tsunami. For most, safety was only a 15-minute walk away, but they had no warning before the waves crashed down, claiming more than 200,000 lives. The cost of the sensors would have been just $200,000.
These are a few examples cited by international relief agency Christian Aid in a report issued on Thursday called “Don’t Be Scared, Be Preparedâ€?, which calls for more effort and money to be invested in disaster prevention.

But the report says risk reduction measures don’t have to be high-tech or expensive.
* Building a house in India using local materials with earthquake and cyclone-resistant features costs about $215 more than one without. Making an existing school quake-resistant costs $660.
* In Sri Lanka, new homes are being built with flat roofs for people to climb onto in the event of another tsunami.
* Wind-up radios, which cost $35, can help warn fishermen and coastal communities about cyclones, floods and tsunamis.
* In India, small task forces have been trained in search and rescue, contingency planning and first aid. In 2004 these teams saved many lives after floods struck Assam in the northeast.

Reuters AlertNet – Disaster prevention: Is $1 a life too much?