The arrival of the monsoon season in Asia has brought the first heavy rains to India and China. With those rains have come harrowing images of people injured, killed ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22579629) or driven from the land by water and mud ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-23099445).
My thoughts are with the victims of the floods, and these events also underlined for me the need to help people build more resilient communities.
Resilience is a term that describes a community's ability to withstand a natural disaster and bounce back afterwards. This capability requires several ingredients – both immediate help after the disaster and the prospect of being able to build a new life in the years ahead. These aspects are also linked to sustainability.
If people see no future at home, they migrate. Migration in turn can lead to social and political tension which ultimately often negatively affects a country's economy - a vicious cycle which dilutes the possibility of building a sustainable society.
It is clear to me that we cannot improve economic efficiency, protect and restore our ecological systems, and enhance social well-being if we remain seriously vulnerable to natural disasters.
So, what can be done to strengthen resilience in the countryside?
First of all, the longer we delay adapting to the impact of severe weather and climate change, the greater the challenge will become. The collaboration of many parties is required. Governments must improve common infrastructure. The communities at risk need access to education so people can learn how to adapt traditional ways of life to new realities. Last but not least we need resources and money.
In all these areas, insurance has a role to play. As a business, we must provide insurance to make improvements possible. This can range from classical insurance that covers the construction of roads and bridges to microinsurance that gives farmers the resources for a new start after an event.
But the insurance industry can also contribute the know-how of our specialists to assist planning for major events and our voice in the international debate, where we push for sustainable development.
Take a look at what we have to offer. You can find it under Re-Thinking on http://www.swissre.com/rethinking/. We are willing to do our part – so why not take us up on it? Talk to us; tell us what you need.
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Climate change, Floods/storms, Resilience