Some useful tools for the Caribbean when a natural disaster occurs

Photo courtesy of Stocksnap

As the Caribbean region braced for this year’s hurricane season, the Inter-American Development Bank was putting the finishing touches on the Risk Monitor, a comprehensive tool to help regional policymakers consider relevant evaluation data in order to reduce the risks associated with disasters. The tool is not yet published online, but various IDB technical reports on disaster management are now available at:,2696.html

The Risk Monitor will include five indicators to measure each country’s ability to plan for and reduce the risks of disasters.

–          Macroeconomic perspective (Disaster Deficit Index – DDI)

–          Local planning perspective (Local Disaster Index – LDI)

–          Social development perspective (Prevalent Vulnerability Index – PVI)

–          Institutional perspective (Risk Management Index – RMI)

–          Public policy perspective (Governance and Public Policy Index – IGOPP)

One of the best ways for policymakers to reduce disaster risk may be to apply the tools available within the Risk Monitor.

Belize’s disaster deficit index (DDI) worsened significantly from 0.37 in 2010 to 1.19 in 2012. The DDI 100 indicator evaluates whether the country has sufficient financial resources to recover the capital stock impacted by a possible maximum catastrophe with a 100 year return period. This means that Belize’s financial capacity to deal with catastrophes is not sufficient. Using the information available in the Risk Monitor, the IDB will be better able to plan its financial support in ways that will improve Belize’s economic stability after a disaster occurs. One unique financial instrument available to IDB member states in addressing the risk of disasters is the IDB’s Contingent Loan for Emergencies.

Port-au-Prince after the earthquake.
Port-au-Prince after the earthquake.

Jamaica’s prevalent vulnerability index (PVI) increased from 41.85 in 2010 to 44.07 in 2011, making it more vulnerable to naturally occurring hazards such as hurricanes. Its PVI socio-economic fragility sub-index increased from 33.56 in 2010 to 37.71 in 2011, implying that Jamaica should look for solutions to national-level fiscal, infrastructure and policy challenges such as social disparity, debt servicing, and soil degradation.

The Dominican Republic’s risk management index (RMI) registered substantial improvement from 6.55 in 1995 to 34.01 in 2013. This means that the Dominican Republic’s institutions have developed a much greater capacity for anticipating and preventing disaster risk.  However, the Dominican Republic’s efforts to mitigate infrastructure risk by applying engineering measures have not registered much improvement as compared to data found in the Risk Monitor sub-indexes that measure risk identification, disaster management, and financial protection.

In short, the Risk Monitor will help Caribbean governments create and improve national-level financial, infrastructural, and logistical plans long before the earth starts to quake or hurricane-force winds appear on the weather radars.

Hurricane Michelle hits the Hotel Sheraton Grand Paradise
Hurricane Michelle hits the Hotel Sheraton Grand Paradise

Want to know more about the Risk Monitor and its associated tools? Please contact Maria Retana at the IDB’s Disaster Management Team at



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