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Experts Urge Smart Spending to Make Climate Change Money Stretch

When heavy rains hit the tiny West African nation of Togo in September, filling a hydropower dam close to overflowing, the Togolese Red Cross took an unusual step.

Rather than simply putting aid supplies in place to prepare for flooding, the agency sent cash to families living downstream so they could move out of the expected flood path. It also provided simple protection, such as plastic bags in which to keep birth certificates and other key papers dry.

“If an event hits and you’re not prepared, only then is it going to become a disaster,” said Pablo Suarez of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, which is working increasingly on innovative ways to get money to threatened communities before disasters strike, to hold down costs and losses.

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