Cities such as Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, that are highly vulnerable to
rain-induced disasters due to inappropriate land-use on a massive scale,
can greatly reduce risks with timely employment of early warning systems
(EWS). After a rain-induced disaster in the city in April 2010, the City
Council together with the Civil Defence, responsible for coordinating
the efforts of all emergency services, invested in technology and
integrated resources to build capacity throughout the chain of response
right down to the community level. This Brief explores the success of
Rio’s EWS in terms of its strategies to improve risk knowledge,
monitoring and warning, dissemination and communication, and response
capability, and in doing so, identifies key enabling factors and lessons
for other cities interested in implementing their own systems.
Coordinated action of all public agencies under one umbrella
organisation can improve monitoring, warning and response capacity.
Community involvement in the design and implementation of any EWS is
essential and engaging the help of respected community workers and
leaders can greatly facilitate this process.
Investments in monitoring technology are fundamental to improving the
accuracy of risk mapping, thereby allowing more lead-time to provide
A range of low-cost, effective methods are available for raising
awareness amongst local populations.
Heffer, C. O. ELLA Policy Brief: Rio de Janeiro City&#8217;s Early Warning System for Heavy Rain. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2013) 7 pp.