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Disaster Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Posted December. 23, 2005 03:00,   


While Japan successfully cuts its losses from disasters such as typhoons and snow storms that sweep through the country every year by investing in disaster prevention, Korea suffers the same damage every year because it spends its disaster budget on restoration work after its disasters.

According to “Disaster Management Budget Analysis,” a recent report released by the National Assembly Budget Office (NABO), a total of 21.069 trillion won was spent on post-disaster restoration for five consecutive years since 2000, while just about half that amount, 10.524 trillion won, was invested in disaster prevention.

Over the same period, Japan invested about 149 trillion won in disaster prevention and a mere 23.448 trillion won in restoration efforts. Japan’s restoration expenses, which accounted for 13 percent (6.892 trillion won) of its total disaster prevention budget in 2000, also went down to 8.8 percent (2.416 trillion won) last year.

Contrary to this, the budget spent for restoration in Korea accounted for an average of 67 percent of the entire disaster prevention budget over the same period.

A NABO spokesperson said, “Japan’s case shows us that a sustained investment in disaster prevention can reduce losses and cut government restoration expenses accordingly.” A NABO official also pointed out that although disaster damage is concentrated on facilities managed by the local government, the prevention budget is primarily invested in nationally managed facilities.