This funding will be used to implement disaster risk financing and innovative insurance programmes led by the Start Network, a global network of humanitarian organisations dedicated to locally-led rapid response and preparedness.

The additional £1.1-million has been allocated to Start Ready, an innovative mechanism that prepositions funds for predictable crises.

Start Network has recently announced the purchase of a cyclone insurance policy for Madagascar, in partnership with the Government of Madagascar and the UN World Food Programme through African Risk Capacity (ARC), covering November 2023 to May 2024.

According to Start Network, the policy supports risk-prone communities in the event of tropical cyclones, which impact African countries bordering the Indian Ocean more frequently, and severely, compared to previous decades. In the event of an activation, Start Network's ARC Replica programme may pay out between USD$1-million and USD$4-million to support up to 400 000 affected people.

Madagascar is a country particularly vulnerable to weather-related hazards, says Start Network. Whenever they occur, cyclones, floods and droughts have devastating impacts on populations, causing:
  • loss of life
  • destruction of property and infrastructure
  • displacement, and
  • loss of livelihoods.

Notably, in 2022 and 2023, Madagascar was hard hit by intense tropical cyclones, including Batsirai and Freddy.

Start Network says ARC Replica provides support in terms of disaster response after the anticipatory and early action triggered by Start Ready. ARC Replica's added value lies in strengthening community resilience to major hazards through the continuity of community support.

Start Ready is another Start Network mechanism using predictive modelling to anticipate climate-related events and aims to activate three days prior to cyclones making landfall in the country, according to Start Network. 

General Mamy Razakanaivo, executive secretary of emergency prevention and management unit (CPGU) of Madagascar, says, "ARC Replica is one of ARC's programmes that makes it possible to at least double the capacity to respond to climate risks. It thereby enables vital support to be provided before the effects of a crisis are felt."

Similar parametric insurance policies have been purchased in the past in Somalia, Senegal and Zimbabwe, Start Network says. The additional funding from the UK government will be dedicated to funding locally-driven humanitarian responses to El Niño-induced hazards.

Christina Bennett, CEO at Start Network, says, "We are delighted with the UK government's increased funding to Start Network for disaster risk financing. The continued support from the UK's Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office will help us protect more lives and livelihoods ahead of climate-related emergencies."

By pooling risks and resources, we are able to make our funds work harder and stretch further. We are excited about our continued partnership with the FCDO, and we support the UK's call for bolder action to prevent the impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable communities," concludes Bennett. 

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