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1 149 SECTION AREA Saving lives through early warning systems and emergency preparedness Maryam Golnaraghi Ph.D, chief; James Douris, technical officer and Jean-Baptiste Migraine, junior professional officer, Disaster Risk Reduction Division, World Meteorological Organization Every year disasters cause significant impacts around the globe. Disasters caused by meteorological, hydrological and climate-related hazards such as floods, tropical cyclones, droughts and heat waves are the most frequent and extensive geographically, resulting in the largest share of overall impacts. Statistics from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) reveal that during the period , nearly 8,00 disasters caused by natural hazards worldwide killed about two million people and resulted in losses of USD1. trillion. During this period, about 90 per cent of disasters caused by natural hazards were of meteorological or hydrological origin, accounting for 1.3 million losses of life and 1,200 trillion US dollars (respectively 71 per cent and 78 per cent of overall impacts). Over the last 0 years, globally, the recorded number of disasters and their associated economic losses have increased by nearly tenfold and 0-fold, respectively. However, the associated loss of life has decreased ten-fold. This reduction in loss of life is linked to the development of effective disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies and strategies, particularly related to linking early warning systems to emergency preparedness and planning at national to local levels. Decadal loss of life related to geological versus hydrometeorological hazards casualties per decade (millions) Geological Hydrometeorological decade Source: EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database Université Catholique de Louvain Brussels Belgium Years of international cooperation to support national capacities for early warning systems Over the years, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, has acted as an authoritative voice for weather, water, climate and disasters of hydrometeorological origin, and has promoted the importance of prevention and preparedness measures including risk assessment, early warning systems and sectoral planning to reduce the impacts of weather, climate and water- related hazards. Through the coordinated networks of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) of its 188 members, WMO coordinates the networks of Global Observing System, Global Telecommunication System and Global Data Processing and Forecasting System, providing a wide range of products and services based on observations, monitoring, hazard analysis, forecasting to provide capacities to developing and least developed countries for issuance of warnings. One of the core activities of WMO has been the consolidation of general requirements for global Earth observations and the coordination of consistent, systematic and continuous collection and archiving of hydrometeorological observations. Furthermore, through establishment of standards, guidelines and procedures for data collection, quality control, formatting, archiving and rescue, WMO has assisted countries, through their NMHSs, to enhance their capacity in this area. WMO continues to work towards ensuring consistent data quality and accessibility across national boundaries for the purpose of improving risk management capabilities at the regional and subregional levels. Through the WMO Global Observing System, operated by the National Meteorological Services, data are collected from 17 satellites, hundreds of ocean buoys, thousands of aircraft and ships and nearly 10,000 landbased stations. More than 0,000 weather reports and several thousand charts and digital products are disseminated daily through the WMO Global Telecommunication System, which interconnects all countries through their National Meteorological Services around the globe. The WMO Global Data Processing and Forecasting System involves three World Meteorological Centres (WMCs) and 40 Regional [ 1 ]

2 WMO coordinated global operational network in Support of national early warning systems Meteorological, hydrological and climate observations National Meteorological and Hydrological Services Meteorological, hydrological and climate value-added products and warning advisories Global Telecommunication System Regional Meteorological Training Centres Drought Monitoring Centres Medium Range Forecasting Centre Tropical Cyclone Forecasting Centres Environment Emergency Response Centres Regional Meteorological and Hydrological Specialised Centres World Meteorological Centres Global Data Processing and Forecasting System Source: World Meteorological Organization Specialized Meteorological Centres (RSMCs), as well as regional climate and drought monitoring centres. These centres, which are operated by NMHSs, ensure cooperation at global, regional and national levels to process data and routinely provide countries with analyses and meteorological forecasts, supporting early warning capacities through their NMHSs. An example is the WMO Global Tropical Cyclone Early Warning System. It comprises a coordinated observing network for collecting and sharing data, six Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers 1 providing tropical cyclone analysis, forecasts and alerts to the National Meteorological Services and five regional committees, which ensure ongoing improvements in the tropical cyclone forecasting and operational coordination for the upcoming season. This enables the availability of tropical cyclone warning capacities in all countries at risk. WMO is working on an integrated approach to ensure utilization of this coordinated network to support national warning systems for a wide range of hazards including floods, droughts, sand and dust storms, severe storms, storm surges and other marine related hazards. Components of effective early warning systems Effective early warning systems involve four operational components, including: Observing, detecting, monitoring and forecasting hazards, and developing warning messages Assessing the potential risks and integrating risk information in the warning messages Distributing, rapidly and reliably, understandable warnings to authorities, risk managers and the population at risk, with levels of warning that are linked to levels of preparedness, readiness and emergency operations Community-based emergency planning, preparedness and training programmes to ensure effective response to warnings to reduce the potential impacts. Development of capacities along these four components would require political commitment and investments for development of early warning systems and emergency preparedness reflected in disaster risk management plans and budgets, legislations that define explicitly roles and responsibilities of various authorities and agencies at national to local levels. Operational implementation of warning systems would also require a coordinated approach among different stakeholders with clear protocols and procedures that enable effective coordination at national to community levels. Furthermore, there is need for systematic and evaluation of the system at all levels following each event, to ensure improvements over time. International cooperation for strengthening national early warning system capacities While the benefits of early warning systems have been demonstrated over the last decades, national policies in many countries continue to stress post-disaster response and relief operations. There remain significant defi- [ 16 ]

3 Criteria for effective early warning systems 2 Coordination among National Services Meteorological Hydrological Geological Marine 3 1 National to local governments supported by DRR plans, legislation and coordination mechanisms Communication and Dissemination preventive actions 4 Community Preparedness Health (etc.) Source: International Experts Symposium on Early Warning Systems for Integrated Disaster Risk Management, May 2006 ciencies in investments in systematic and sustainable early warning systems and emergency preparedness programmes at the national to community levels, posing urgency for the scientific and technical, development and humanitarian community to work together to raise political awareness on the benefits of early warning systems and emergency preparedness and to assist countries in developing these capacities. The concept of early warning systems has received significant international attention in the past few years. 2 Results of the Global Survey of Early Warning Systems, commissioned by the Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, together with national and regional capacity assessment surveys conducted by the WMO, indicate that in many countries there is need for development of early warning systems as an integral part of national DRR strategies. The adoption of the Hyogo Declaration and Hyogo Framework for Action : Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters (HFA) by 168 countries during the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (January 200, Kobe, Japan), marked the beginning of a new era for disaster risk management, with the second high priority area stressing the importance of identifying, assessing and monitoring disaster risks and enhancing early warnings. In May 2006, following the Third International Early Warning Conference (Bonn, Germany), WMO convened the First International Experts Symposium on Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (Geneva, Switzerland, May 2006) (MHEWS-I), also co-sponsored by the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (ISDR) Secretariat and UNESCO, in which nearly 100 experts from the networks of 20 technical, humanitarian and development agencies participated. The MHEWS-I: Provided recommendations pertaining to major gaps in governance, organizational coordination and operations aspects of early warning systems along the four components of early warning systems Identified criteria for good practices in early warning systems Identified examples of good practices including the France Vigilance System, Shanghai Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Emergency Response Programme, Bangladesh Cyclone Preparedness Programme, and Cuba Cyclone Preparedness and Response System Recommended the need for strengthened coordination and collaboration among agencies across components of early warning systems. 3 Since 2007 WMO, through an integrated planning approach with other partner humanitarian and development agencies (e.g. IFRC, World Bank, OCHA) and regional agencies, has been initiating national demonstration and pilot projects to develop, analyse and document good practices in early warning systems. In [ 17 ]

4 The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale Category One Hurricane: Category Two Hurricane: Category Three Hurricane: Category Four Hurricane: Category Five Hurricane: Winds 74-9 mph (64-82 kt or km/hr). Storm surge generally 4- ft above normal. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage Winds mph (83-9 kt or km/hr). Storm surge generally 6-8 feet above normal. Some roofing material, door, and window damage of buildings. Considerable damage to shrubbery and trees with some trees blown down. Considerable damage to mobile homes, poorly constructed signs, and piers. Winds mph ( kt or km/hr). Storm surge generally 9-12 ft above normal. Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings. Damage to shrubbery and trees with foliage blown off trees and large trees blown down. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by battering from floating debris. Winds mph ( kt or km/hr). Storm surge generally ft above normal. Some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Winds greater than 1 mph (13 kt or 249 km/hr). Storm surge generally greater than 18 ft above normal. Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. All shrubs, trees, and signs blown down. Source: National Hurricane Center Miami: May 2009, WMO will be convening the 2nd International Experts Symposium on Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (MHEWS-II), to be hosted by Météo-France in Toulouse, France. Through collective analysis of lessons learned from demonstration and pilot projects, the goal of this of MHEWS-II is to develop the first set of comprehensive guidelines on governance, organizational coordination and operational aspects of early warning systems leveraging cooperation at regional, national and community levels. Examples of good practices in early warning systems French Vigilance System In December 1999, the severe winter storm Lothar led to nearly 100 casualties and an estimated USD8 billion economic losses in France. Following this disaster, the French Vigilance System was established in close collaboration between the Ministry of Transportation (responsible for provision of weather forecasts and warnings through Météo-France) and the Ministry of Interior (responsible for emergency preparedness and response), and was later complemented by a hydrological component, involving the Ministry of Ecology, Environment and Sustainable Development (responsible for flood forecasting). The French Vigilance System, supported by an inter-ministerial steering committee, became operational in November However, the 2003 heat wave led to nearly 20,000 casualties and an estimated USD4 billion economic losses in France. Lessons learned from this event were instrumental in setting up the heat/health warning module within the Vigilance System, involving close collaboration between Météo-France and the Ministry of Health (through the National Institute for Health Surveillance). Since 2003, new legislation has been enacted to enhance emergency preparedness and response to the Vigilance System, including: The law for natural and technological risks (30 July 2003) which is administrated by the Ministry of ecology and sustainable development, promoting adequate urban planning, protection measures, and dissemination of precise information about risks to the citizens The law for civil protection and crisis management (13 August 2004), which defines the roles and responsibilities of the different agencies in the context of crisis management, calls on the responsibility of citizens in ensuring their security, and emphasizes the need for continuous government watch on any risks that would require operational response The Organic Law (1 January 2006) on finance, which allows for the distribution of budgets among different agencies, further strengthening interagency collaborations for implementation of specific programmes. In the French Vigilance System, information about risks of hydrometeorological and climate phenomena at subregional and local levels is communicated on a map, with four colour-coded levels of vigilance. This map is updated at least twice a day and distributed to authorities and the public. If needed, authorities also get additional customized information for better planning and response operations. The system is continually improved through a mechanism involving all partners. Bangladesh Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme Bangladesh is one of the good practices in demonstrating benefits of investments in emergency preparedness and tropical cyclone early warning system. Cyclone Bhola, on 12 November 1970, has been the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded in modern times. Up to 300,000 people lost their lives, primarily as a result of the associated storm surge that flooded much of the low-lying islands of the Ganges Delta. This cyclone was the sixth cyclonic storm and the most powerful of the 1970 North Indian Ocean cyclone season, reaching a strength equivalent to a category three hurricane. The coastline of Bangladesh was yet again devastated by Cyclone Gorky in 1991, leading to an estimated 140,000 deaths. Following [ 18 ]

5 Two examples of good practices in early warning systems: France vigilance System and Bangladesh Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme France Vigilance System Bangladesh Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme Coordination among technical agencies Meteoroligical Department Disaster management information centre Shelters & community preparedness Security services & decision makers General Public Dissemination: networks of volunteers Source: World Meteorological Organization these tragic disasters, the Government of Bangladesh through the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management, together with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, developed the Cyclone Preparedness Programme. Since 2003, the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP) complements the Cyclone Preparedness Programme, promoting community participation in the construction and maintenance of cyclone shelters. In November 2006 the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, CDMP, the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management and the Ministry of Defence signed a Memorandum of Understanding to clarify roles and responsibilities of each agency for early warning dissemination. A Disaster Management Information Centre has been initiated under the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management, to archive and disseminate meteorological, hydrological and climate information and warnings provided by the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, anticipate and assess damages, coordinate relief operations, and advise national planning processes so as to reduce disaster risks. Bangladesh s regulative framework for disaster management, as updated in 2008, includes a Disaster Management Act, defining mandatory obligations and responsibilities among Ministries and agencies; a National Disaster Management Policy, describing the national objectives, and strategies in disaster management; a National Plan for Disaster Management , complemented by hazard-specific management plans (flood, cyclone, storm surge, tsunami, earthquake, drought, river erosion), and Standing Orders on Disaster, detailing roles and responsibilities of committees, ministries and other organizations in DRR and emergency management. On the operational levels, this programme involves a coordinated approach to emergency preparedness and planning at national to community levels., linking the early warning of tropical cyclones issued by the Bangladesh Meteorological Agency (BMA) to an emergency preparedness and response programme building upon a network of 33,000 volunteers at the community levels who assist with preparedness planning, drills, alert dissemination, evacuations, first aid, relief, and ongoing community education and training. A warning preparedness mechanism using a flag system enables the linking different levels of threat to appropriate actions to minimize the impacts. This preparedness programme is complemented with the development of concrete shelters raised on 12-foot pillars to allow tidal surges to flow beneath, allowing the population in the low-lying coastal region an effective evacuation mechanism. Furthermore, in 2006 the system was further enhanced, with the setting up of the Disaster Management Information Centre, which archives and disseminates up-to-date weather, climate and seismic observation data from the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, anticipates and assesses damages, coordinates relief operations, and advises national planning processes so as to reduce disaster risks. The benefits of this programme were realized in November 2007 during the Cyclone Sidr, the equivalent to a category four hurricane, when loss of life was significantly reduced to 3,000. Following this event, the assessments carried out in the region and with consideration for potential increase in risks associated with such hydrometrological hazards linked to climate change, loss of life and economic losses in Bangladesh could be further reduced through development of additional cyclone shelters in the low-lying areas and more investments in infrastructure that could withstand the powers of the cyclones and storm surges in this region. [ 19 ]

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