Flooding is a natural disaster that can damage large areas near rivers, and in the case of flash floods, also in the vicinity of smaller streams. People, properties and agricultural land can be affected. In a recent published science for policy report the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) presents an assessment of the capacity for flood monitoring and early flood warning in 17 of the EU´s Eastern/Southern Neighbourhood countries. The Eastern Neighbourhood countries included Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, whereas the enlargement countries are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. The Southern Neighbourhood Policy countries included Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia. All countries benefit from the European Neighbourhood policy, an instrument of the European Union for creating closer relationships with countries east and south of the EU territory. They can thus profit from financial assistance through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), depending on conditions of government reform, economic reform and other issues. Besides, all countries can ask for help from the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
A thorough assessment of the flood monitoring and early warning capacity is crucial for national and regional authorities to identify strengths, gaps and cooperation opportunities to place future investments strategically with the aim to swiftly improve the protection of citizens, assets and environment.
MAIN FINDINGS OF THE REPORT
The report concluded that the capacity for flood monitoring and modelling is quite different in the various countries. Some countries have many automatic meteorological and hydrological stations, others are still relying on manual stations with infrequent reporting to the main office. Some countries have good modelling tools for many watersheds, whereas other countries are relying on expert interpretation of weather forecasts and the most recent observations. Many possibilities for improvements were identified both on a national and regional level. Recommendations included
- maintenance must be considered when funding improvements of measurement networks
- training of staff is highly demanded in all countries
- international efforts for meteorological and hydrological modelling should be encouraged and medium to long-term plans for monitoring and early flood warning capacities in the countries shall be developed
RELATION TO DRIVER+ TRIAL #1
Trial #1 aims at demonstrating the potential interest of a more integrated high-level Crisis Management system in the EU, partly in cross-border contexts in terms of improved situation assessment, coordination, resource pooling & sharing, and cross-border cooperation. The Trial to be conducted from 21st-25th May in Warsaw, Poland serves as a demonstration of the potential of a Common Operational Picture approach at European level. It is based on a scenario, namely a maintenance error causing massive release of chemical agent from a reservoir containing industrial liquid waste. Turncock failure causes that the pump disposing chemical waste into the reservoir cannot be switched off. Consequently, there is a rapid inflow of a significant amount of a liquid, mud like, toxic chemical to the retention reservoir. Dikes of the reservoir are weakened after prolonged rainfall and under the influence of pressure they break.
In relation to the JRC’s report, Trial 1 will thus greatly contribute in improving international efforts in flood monitoring and early warning across borders. The incident requires a multiagency operation involving practitioners from various countries. In addition, it will include the deployment of international resources based on bilateral cross-border agreements as well as international civil protection mechanisms. The result of these high-level exercise will facilitate the decision-making process in crisis situations and a swift operation when it comes to mass evacuation, resource sharing and pooling, warning and alerting, reporting, and the like.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT TRIAL #1
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL JRC SCIENCE FOR POLICY REPORT