Multi-hazard early warnings save lives

Multi-hazard early warnings save lives

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Published

23 March 2018

A new Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems Checklist has been issued as part of an internationally-coordinated drive to protect people and property from extreme weather events, which are increasing as a result of climate change.

The checklist was compiled by the World Meteorological  Organization and a wide range of partners and is designed as an important, practical tool to boost resilience. It was issued on World Meteorological Day.

“The dramatic reduction in the lives lost due to severe weather events in the last thirty years has been largely attributed to the significant increase in accuracy of weather forecasting and warnings and improved coordination with disaster management authorities,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

 “But forecasts of what the weather will BE are no longer enough and increasingly the focus is on what the weather will DO. WMO is therefore working to establish a global and standardized multi-hazard alert system in collaboration with National Meteorological and Hydrological Services worldwide, said Mr Taalas.

The checklist will be an important tool in achieving that. It focusses on engagement and education at community level, disaster preparedness, and effective dissemination of warnings so that early action and evacuation as necessary takes place in a timely manner.

The checklist is structured around these four key elements of early warning systems. It  aims to be a simple list of the main components and actions and serve as a point of reference in the development of early warning systems.

The publication was prepared by the partners of the International Network for Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems and is a key outcome of the first Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference that took place in Cancún, Mexico in May 2017.

The UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, said: “Advances in early warning systems are important as they make an enormous contribution to reducing the death tolls in disasters.”

Ms. Mizutori welcomed the publication of the checklist. She urged countries to incorporate it into national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction which are scheduled to be in place by 2020 in accordance with a key target of the global plan for reducing disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. 

Published today on World Meteorological Day, the checklist focusses on engagement and education at community level, disaster preparedness, and effective dissemination of warnings so that early action and evacuation as necessary takes place in a timely manner.

Ms. Mizutori said: “Disaster preparedness and understanding of disaster risk has never been more important. Climate change is driving major changes in the frequency, intensity and unpredictability of extreme weather events. A multi-hazard approach to early warnings is an essential part of building the resilience of communities and nations to disasters.”

The checklist is available here

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