The report forms part of the Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and
Resilience (SHEAR) scoping study, which aims to provide DFID with
evidence-based recommendations on future research priorities for risk
assessments and early warning systems. The focus is on weather-related
hazards (i.e. cyclones, floods, droughts and landslides) for
humanitarian and development purposes in low-income countries across
Africa, South Asia and the Caribbean.
Overall 190 papers, reports and online resources were reviewed with a
fairly even coverage across each region and on early warning systems,
risk assessments and analytical tools, and on how information is used to
inform decision making. International data sets show that the total
numbers of people affected by weather related emergencies and disasters
are greatest in South Asia but the Caribbean islands stand out as having
particularly high ‘risks to people’ and economic damage from hurricanes
and flooding per capita. Floods and droughts are important in Africa and
although landslide risks affect fewer people they are locally important
in Nepal, India and in some Caribbean islands.
Early warning systems require several components, i.e. risk knowledge,
monitoring and warning systems, dissemination and communication and
response capacity. A weakness or breakdown in any one part of an early
warning system can result in its failure. The report’s findings suggest
a very mixed picture with good examples and continued progress on early
warning systems in parts of South Asia and the Caribbean but far less
progress on national risk assessments and a lack of integration between
warning systems and risk assessment tools.
The main findings on risk assessments are more limited because, with few
exceptions, there was a lack of good examples of detailed, quantitative
risk assessments for humanitarian purposes in Africa, the Caribbean and
The review highlights specific opportunities to improve both early
warning systems and risk assessments in each region, particularly with
regards to (i) flood forecasting and the communication of drought
forecasts in Africa (ii) drought and flood forecasting in the Caribbean
and (iii) early warning systems for landslides in Nepal, an important
hazard in terms of fatalities.
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.
Lumbroso, D.; Rance, J.; Pearce, G.; Brown, E.; Wade, S. Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience (SHEAR) scoping study: Annex 2 - The current status of early warning systems and risk assessments in Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia - A literature review. Evidence on Demand, UK (2013) iii + 45 pp. [DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12774/eod_cr.june2014.lumbrosorance]