Rina Meutia (‘07) is a Disaster Risk Management Specialist supporting the Operations and Country Programs Team at the World Bank. Meutia works with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), a unit within the World Bank Climate Change Group.
Meutia’s work has focused on disaster management issues for nearly 15 years. Prior to joining the World Bank, she was Team Leader for Reducing Vulnerabilities and Managing Risks in the World Humanitarian Summit Secretariat–OCHA at United Nations Headquarters in New York. She has multiple firsthand experiences in responding to major disasters, including the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami in her native Aceh, Indonesia; the 2005 Kashmir earthquake in Pakistan; and the 2008 Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.
With the World Bank, Meutia’s work is focused on the development side of disaster management.
“We are focusing more on how to mainstream disaster risk reduction into sectoral development planning,” Meutia said. “We do engage with our client countries in post disaster, but mainly to help the government to estimate the costs of damages, losses, and needs incurred for that particular disaster and to help them in developing recovery strategy.”
Meutia manages the organization’s portfolio for South Asia and Europe and Central Asia. Additionally, she leads the work of an initiative to introduce a systematic consideration of peace and conflict dynamics into disaster risk management frameworks and practices on how to reduce disaster risks in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence.
“I just got back from Somalia over Christmas week to respond to the government’s request to conduct a post-disaster needs assessment following the recent and recurring floods in the country,” Meutia said.
Meutia first started her work at the World Bank as part of her International Public Service Project at the Clinton School in the summer of 2006. At that time, the World Bank was just beginning to recognize disaster management as a development issue and had established GDFDRR to focus on disaster risk management. That summer, Meutia researched disaster related risks and their influence on low income populations, urbanization, unplanned settlements, and environmental degradation. She also modeled disaster risks in economic projections and estimated changes in real income due to natural disasters.
Meutia continued her efforts in disaster management as part of her Capstone project, working with the United States Agency for International Development on Tsunami relief efforts for Indonesia.
“The story was not quite linear but that’s how I ended up with the World Bank,” Meutia said. “It was a combination of everything, but IPSP created that opportunity.”
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.