Compound risks

As hazards increase in frequency and intensity, we can expect there to be not only less time to recover between them, but also multiple hazards happening at once, resulting in compounding risks. Extreme weather events occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic have shown the impact of compounding hazards on vulnerable populations. When hazards combine, they can multiply each other’s impact in unprecedented ways, leaving governments, civil society, and the humanitarian sector struggling to respond.

Anticipatory action has mostly taken a single-hazard approach so far and now needs to evolve to better account for multiple hazards, concurrent shocks and compounding risks, as highlighted in the following studies.

This paper argues that compound risks and complex emergencies require new approaches to preparedness and anticipatory action, emphasising that social inequalities heighten the risk and magnitude of compound disasters, severely impacting the very communities that are least equipped to handle them. 

This paper examines adjustments to and activations of Early Action Protocols by the Red Cross Red Crescent in 2020 and evaluates how anticipatory efforts managed multiple compounding risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing recommendations on how multi-hazard risk management can be improved.

Risk KAN Webinar: Systemic Risk and Covid-19 - Advancing anticipatory action

The Covid-19 pandemic has created complexities for early warning, action and assessment of cascading risk.

The speakers shared their research on a multi-hazards perspective on the Covid-19 pandemic and lessons from anticipatory humanitarian action for climate disasters during Covid-19, in particular reflecting on the lessons from Bangladesh. A discussion followed where speakers and participants discussed how to advance anticipatory action in practice amidst systemic risks and Covid-19.  

  • Dr Mark Quigley, Associate Professor (University of Melbourne)
  • Dr. Evan Easton-Calabria, Senior Research Officer (University of Oxford)
  • Mr. Sheikh Khairul, Forecast-based Financing Delegate in Bangladesh (German Red Cross)

This webinar was co-hosted by Risk KAN and the Anticipation Hub. This was the second in a monthly series of Risk KAN webinars on systemic risk.  

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Related reports and scientific publications

Compound risks and complex emergencies require new approaches to preparedness

ncreasingly, we face compounding and interrelated environmental, socioeconomic, and political crises. Yet our approaches to these problems are often siloed, fragmented, and inadequate. The current …

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Managing multiple hazards: lessons from anticipatory humanitarian action for climate disasters during COVID-19

This study looks at how Forecast-based Financing (FbF) practitioners planned to address immediate, climate-related hazards given the additional risks posed by the pandemic. As a ‘natural …

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Learning from Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems to Respond to Pandemics

Having a common framework for early action to cope with complex disas-ters can make it easier for authorities and other stakeholders, including populations at risk, to understand the full spectrum …

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Header photo by Indian Red Cross Society