This study gives recommendations on research priorities for risk assessments and early warning systems for weather-related hazards
The objective of the Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience (SHEAR) scoping study is to provide the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) with evidence-based recommendations on future research priorities for risk assessments and early warning systems for weather-related hazards (e.g. cyclones, floods, droughts) for humanitarian and development purposes for low-income countries across Africa, South Asia and the Caribbean.
As part of the scoping study, an internet-based survey aimed at stakeholders based in or working in the three regions was produced. The objective of the survey was to get an overview of risk assessments and early warning systems for weather-related hazards with respect to their effectiveness in reducing loss of life, their accessibility to a range of stakeholders, as well as an understanding of the opportunities to improve them. Of the 247 respondents, 180 completed the survey in its entirety.
In Africa, drought was perceived by the respondents to have the most impact on people followed by fluvial flooding. The main barrier to the effectiveness of early warning systems loss of life was seen to be the lack of high quality data. This was closely followed by the lack of technological capacity to generate forecasts. Just over half the respondents indicated that some form of risk or vulnerability maps for at least one type of weather-related hazards are available. However, this mapping is most commonly seen to result in low levels of reduction in loss of life, and thus low levels of effectiveness.
In the Caribbean, tropical cyclones have the greatest on people. Over 75% of respondents indicated cyclone early warning systems exist with the majority stating these offer substantial or good effectiveness in reducing loss of life. A paucity of high quality data and uncertainty in the warnings were seen as the main barriers. Over 50% stated that some form of risk or vulnerability maps existed, (primarily for tropical cyclones). The barriers to the effectiveness of these maps were seen to be their lack of accessibility to relevant stakeholders and a dearth of information on factors affecting people’s vulnerability.
In South Asia, fluvial flooding, followed by tropical cyclones have the most impact on people. Over 60% of respondents are early warning system for river flooding in place with 50% stating that these offer substantial or good effectiveness in reducing loss of life. The main barriers to improving early warning systems were seen to be the lack of technological capacity to generate forecasts and the lack of high quality data. Just less than 50% the respondents indicated that risk or vulnerability mapping has been produced for fluvial flooding in South Asia. The available mapping was most commonly considered to provide an average reduction in loss of life. The main barrier to the effectiveness of risk and vulnerability mapping in reducing the impacts of weather-related hazards to people in South Asia is the lack of availability of information on factors affecting people’s vulnerability, followed by the lack of accessibility of such maps to relevant stakeholders.
This report has been produced by HR Wallingford Ltd for Evidence on Demand with the assistance of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) contracted through the Climate, Environment, Infrastructure and Livelihoods Professional Evidence and Applied Knowledge Services (CEIL PEAKS) programme, jointly managed by HTSPE Limited and IMC Worldwide Limited.
Brown, E.; Lumbroso, D.; Wade, S. Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience (SHEAR) scoping study: Annex 1 - Results of a stakeholder questionnaire. Evidence on Demand, UK (2014) iii + 28 pp. [DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12774/eod_cr.june2014.brownetal]