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TUE5.2: “Taking preparedness seriously” – Revisiting the gaps and challenges in linking early warning and timely response between community and government levels
Session organized by Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
“Taking preparedness seriously” – Revisiting the gaps and challenges in linking early warning and timely response between community and government levels
Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Germany, Federal Republic of
Early warning systems are vital to disaster preparedness and timely response and should be an integral component of any nation’s disaster risk reduction strategy.
Bridging sustainably the last mile connectivity in India and Myanmar
1Malteser International, Germany; 2Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra (SSK), India
In the End to End Early Warning System (EWS), the “last mile” connectivity remains underdeveloped partly due to a lack of understanding of community capacities and needs and partly as a result of it being promoted as an “add on” to national systems. Malteser International’s initiatives in India and Myanmar demonstrate the critical contribution that communities make within early-warning and response systems, and as drivers of them. Lessons learned show that the last mile can be bridged sustainably where communities and their vulnerabilities are taken as the starting point for local system development and strong links to national systems are established. Benefiting from the mobile EWS for floods in Uttar Pradesh (India) are 50 flood prone hamlets through a successful system based on auto-dialing software with engagement of the authorities responsible for district level early warning. It authenticates existing indigenous practices through a government managed system. The project has attempted to make the authority’s system more effi-cient and accountable and is based on the assumption that they will exercise their duty as envisaged in the national Disaster Management policy and will continue managing the EWS. To prepare villages prone to cyclones in Myanmar, Malteser International developed an innovative flag system using understandable warning messages derived from complicated hydro-meteorological data. By engaging women in EWS activities which were dominated traditionally by men, their decision making capacity was increased. Village government officials were included as members of the disaster management committees, which were organized to disseminate reliable warning information as they are credible members of the community. The EWS projects implemented form part of a wider DRR program, in which increasing community knowledge and inclusive social mobilization had been crucial. These initiatives have not been established as standalone activity and this is a critical factor in their success.
GITEWS - The German Contribution to the Indonesian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning system: experiences and lessons learned
German Research Centre for Geosciences - GFZ
The German initiative to design and construct an operational end-to-end tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean got underway directly after the 26 December 2004 tsunami in the region. First instruments as well as ocean monitoring sensors were already deployed a few months later in early 2005. During the entire technical installation phase, joint German-Indonesian academic and training workshops were held, in addition to training courses for maintenance proficiency. Moreover, capacity building and development measures were carried out at different stages. In conjunction with a PhD programme in Germany most capacity development processes were carried out in Indonesia comprising institutional consulting at national, regional and local levels as well as the development and implementation of tsunami preparedness measures and early warning mechanism in three selected pilot regions on Sumatra, Java and Bali. Seven years after commencement of this pioneering initiative, some milestones still remain to be taken. One important step was the coordinated handing over of the technical system to the Indonesian authorities in March 2011. Since then the warning centre operator is still accompanied by a project named PROTECTS, which supports the process of sustainability through intensive training, education and capacity development in Indonesia. Further support is given to the national disaster management agency BNPB and to provincial and local governments for integrating successful downstream measures. Through the GITEWS initiative and add-on funds, the warning and response capacity in place should reduce injury and fatalities in the case of future events. For further information please visit: http://www.gitews.org
Low cost flood early warning systems based on linking local governments and communities in the Philippines
1Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA); 2Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Germany, Federal Republic of
Floods are one of the major natural hazards in the Philippines causing heavy damages and losses for municipalities and communities. Weather services monitor levels of major rivers and are able to warn of impending floods. However, such services are not available for minor rivers. One solution is the establishment of low cost community-based early warning systems. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA) is responsible for weather forecasts for the country, and flood forecasts and warnings only to major river systems using sophisticated and automated devices. Unfortunately, smaller flood-prone river catchments are not covered. The Binahaan River Local Flood Early Warning System (LFEWS) covers a small basin area where the local population is involved in the monitoring, transmission, as well as in the early warning chain during flood events. Support for the establishment of the system was provided by Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in cooperation with PAGASA. It consists of rain and river level gauges, and an “operations centre (OC)” that process and analyze the data received into a warning message that is transmitted down to the community level. The system has an initial investment of 15,000 Euros with all running costs covered by the local government. Cost-benefit analysis on return of investment is estimated in about a year’s time. Key to sustainability of an LFEWS is embedded in the empowerment of the flood prone community and its local government to act on their own during times of flood event and having a sense of ownership of the system. At present, eight rivers basins in Region 8 are equipped with LFEWS and eight more are planned for 2013 in other parts of the Philippines.