Red Cross scopes Pacific for pre-disaster fund

SUVA, 10 MAY 2018 (RNZ PACIFIC) – An initiative that could deliver humanitarian aid funding before disasters strike has been launched by the Red Cross.

The Forecast-based Action Fund uses forecasting models to release funding to mitigate and even prevent the damage and trauma caused by natural disasters.

Germany has committed an initial U$S3.6 million to the new fund which can also draw on a larger disaster relief fund worth up to U$S30 million annually.

The fund is being piloted in multiple countries in Africa, South America and Asia and scoping work for its use in the Pacific is underway.

A senior climate adviser with the Red Cross, Olivia Warrick, said applying the technology in the Pacific would be a trickier than on the continents.

“It largely comes down to what forecasting ability we have for different hazards in certain locations,” she said.

“So for example, here in the Pacific we are not piloting a programme yet but we have done a lot of scoping work. And we have found that drought is the most feasible hazard for Forecast-Based Financing because of the forecasting capability of national metservices.”

The fund would be unable to be applied to cyclones and flooding in the Pacific because of the high variability between cyclone events and the lack of hydrological modelling for floods, Warrick said.