University gets EUR 5.8 million for disaster management research

7 July 2023
REBUMAA project researching pre-emptive disaster management

A consortium of the British and Canadian governments is providing EUR 5.8 million for the three-year "Resilience Building through Multi-Stakeholder Engagement in Anticipatory Action for Climate-Induced Disaster" (REBUMAA) project, managed by the University of Hamburg. Led by Prof. Dr. Daniel Geiger, an organisational scientist in Hamburg, the project is investigating how early warning systems can initiate relief measures before disasters such as floods and droughts triggered by climate change occur, a press release said Friday (June 30, 2023). The aim is to save lives and reduce the damage in the affected regions. The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) is working with universities in Nigeria, Benin and Togo and the respective branches of the Red Cross.

Pre-emptive disaster management 

"How can I provide funds before a disaster has even happened? This approach is quite new and a kind of paradigm shift in disaster management," said Geiger, who termed floods "disasters that cost the most lives and destroy livelihoods worldwide". They are followed by droughts, which require more long-term preparation owing to different traits. "We are concerned with both aspects as both are climate-induced disasters that can be predicted to some extent - unlike earthquakes." The project should help introduce a "forecast-based finance" approach in the participating West African countries. Hopes are now high that best-practice examples of predictive action can be set up and used. "The idea is to create a knowledge hub. We will be the contact point for all organisations and countries that want to introduce such a scheme," says Geiger.

Focus on women

The project aims to improve the flow of money in the event of a disaster and especially as most people in such crisis-hit regions usually do not have a bank account. Payments are made on mobile phones of which men own the most. The money often does not reach women, which is crucial as they are responsible for farming and food, Geiger pointed out. Thus, the focus is on empowering women. "A climate disaster such as a flood creates poverty and that always leads to violence, mostly towards women. Our goal is to make women more resilient, so that they can escape this poverty spiral." Organisational researchers at the University of Hamburg and African scientists are researching climate change, hydrography and meteorology as part of REBUMAA.


Sources and further information

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