UN agencies join forces to reduce risk from natural disasters in South-East Europe

Loss of life can be minimized with investment in disaster prevention measures (file photo)

6 July 2009 – Two United Nations agencies are collaborating on a project to improve early warning systems to try to reduce the risk posed by natural disasters and extreme weather conditions across South-East Europe.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced today in a press release that it is working with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) on a programme to integrate the national meteorological and hydrological services of countries in the region so that they better plan and prepare for possible disasters and extreme events.

Under the project, South-East European countries will have greater capacity to collect and share meteorological data with each other so that they can develop better warning systems, and move more closely in line with the standards and policies within the European Union (EU).

The programme is being financed by the European Commission and follows an assessment phase carried out by WMO with the support of the World Bank and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).

WMO says the Western Balkans area and Turkey face threats from many natural hazards, including floods, droughts, forest fires, earthquakes and landslides, and those threats may increase.

Michel Jarraud, WMO’s Secretary-General, said climate change had the potential to increase the risks even further.

“Integrating early warning systems, based on accurate and timely hydro-meteorological data, analysis and forecasts, into disaster management and response will help save lives and protect property and livelihoods,” he said.


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