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CHOGM: Developing countries affected by natural disasters

PICTURED: A wrecked car remains on a road on Saint Martin, an island in the Caribbean devastated by Hurricane Irma. (Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Secretary Penny Mordaunt will today highlight the important role that science, innovation and the City of London can play in helping developing countries build resilience against and recover after natural disasters.

At an event at Lloyd’s of London, Mordaunt will join Dame Inga Beale, CEO of Lloyd’s of London, to showcase how science and technology are powering the design of innovative financial products which are helping developing countries recover more quickly after extreme climates and disasters.

At the event – held on the first day of this week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings – Ms Mordaunt will announce:

· A package of support to help the Caribbean better prepare for future disasters and explore how innovative financial products can provide much-needed pay-outs quickly, to help speed the recovery of businesses and critical services, like power, hospitals and schools.

· An increase in continued support to the Pacific disaster risk insurance pool (PCRAFI) following the disaster wreaked by Hurricane Gita in Tonga last year, to strengthen its proven ability to pay out after future disasters.

Mordaunt will also reflect on the progress of Global Parametrics, a UK aid-backed social enterprise that is using cutting-edge climatic, seismic and financial risk modelling to build insurance products that make a real difference when natural disasters hit.

This includes a recently launched facility with its first client, VisionFund, which will help 4 million people access crucial finance to rebuild their lives and businesses in the wake of natural disasters.

Penny Mordaunt

Speaking ahead of the event International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “Last year Hurricanes Irma and Maria showed once again the destruction extreme weather events can cause – and the devastating effect this can have on the lives of families and communities.

“When disaster does strike, it is crucial that finance is easily and quickly available to help people rebuild their homes and livelihoods. The use of science, real-time data and innovative finance can be game-changing – helping to cut response times and get countries back on their feet faster.”

The International Development Secretary will also announce a partnership with the Met Office and the World Bank to strengthen weather forecasting systems and deliver new technologies and approaches to help vulnerable communities use climate warnings and forecasts to better prepare for shocks across Asia.

“Changing global climates will impact all our lives, but can have deadly consequences for the world’s poorest people," said Mordaunt. "By improving the use of forecasting information such as early-warning systems, and sharing the Met Office’s world-leading expertise, we can help governments and communities prepare for these shocks, so fewer lives are lost each year to extreme weather.”

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings take place this week in London, bringing together representatives from business, civil society and government from across the Commonwealth.

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