Long-Term Economic Impact of Natural Disasters Fueled by Climate Change

What are the long-range costs of a natural disaster, such as flooding, a hurricane, or even an earthquake? While most only see the immediate economic impact when disaster strikes, there are also long-term effects, such as lost income, a lost job, and long-term impact on the local economy.

Disasters could be looked at as a three-part process, according to www.greenbiz.com — the buildup to the event, the event itself, and the recovery after the event has taken place. How we deal with each part affects the overall recovery process and can ultimately lead to whether a business can recover from a natural disaster or not.

The most important aspect of disaster recovery from a business standpoint is recovering to pre-disaster levels. Depending on the level of the economy, rich or poor, recovery could be almost impossible. It might be best in such instances for a poorer economy to focus recovery on areas not so hard hit. In this way, the economy can be bolstered enough to make an economic recovery in the entire area that much more likely.

Emergency planners need to formulate a strategy as to the most-effective recovery efforts, including the best way to stimulate an economy after a disaster. What changes can be made that will facilitate a fuller recovery and potentially lead to even more future growth? Or better yet, what potentially caused the problem in the first place, and what can be done going forward to use the disaster as an opportunity to promote lasting change in the local area?

All good questions with many answers, none of which are the exact solution needed. Disaster preparation solutions can require rebuilding a flagging school system or another part of the area’s infrastructure that is lacking, for instance — efforts that in the long run will help support a stronger economy and benefit the local community.

For more information about planning for the long-term economic impact after a natural disaster, visit: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/06/08/cost-disaster-calculating-price-tag-climate-change