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Recovering from COVID-19: Lessons from Past Disasters in Asia and the Pacific

COVID-19 in Asia-Pacific has added to the multitude of risks that the region faces intersecting with natural hazards, conflicts and fragility. More than any previous disaster, the novel coronavirus has exposed underlying risks and vulnerabilities and challenged the traditional notion of risk. The impact on population groups with pre-existing vulnerabilities has been particularly severe especially where the health crisis has turned into a humanitarian and economic crisis.

Moreover, national and local crises are currently exacerbated by the simultaneous sufferings of over 200 countries due to COVID-19. As the waves of the pandemic rise and fall, lessons from past disasters and epidemics can offer valuable insights for COVID-19 socio-economic recovery. The study highlights learnings from past disasters and features 10 lessons and good practices from Asia-Pacific:

  1. Caught Unaware: Countries need to anticipate and plan for pandemics and disasters
  2. Health First: A faster and stronger health response is critical to contain pandemics
  3. Preventing a Socio-Economic Crisis: Rapid funding is pivotal to protect the most vulnerable
  4. Get the Evidence: Data and Assessments must guide recovery
  5. Show me the Money: Diverse financing arrangements help to sustain long term recovery
  6. Be the Leader: Dedicated national leadership is essential to achieve effective recovery
  7. Stronger Together: Engaging local governments and community for inclusive response
  8. Build Forward: Greener, Smarter, Better!
  9. Use the Data: Disaster data can help countries deal with changing riskscapes
  10. Innovate, Innovate, Innovate!