With new funds provided by the Government of Canada, WMO and its partners are stepping up efforts to support disaster risk reduction in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Southeast Asia.
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has allocated CAD 10 million (US$ 7.5 million) to the project entitled “Building Resilience to High-Impact Hydro-meteorological Events through Strengthening Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems in SIDS and South East Asia. The grant represents Canada`s institutional support to the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative.
The first meeting of the Project Steering Committee for the Southeast Asia component took place at the National Hydro-Meteorological Service (NHMS) of Viet Nam in Ha Noi on 23 November 2017.
Running until March 2021, the project will strengthen weather-, climate- and water-related impact-based decision support services and so help protect lives and property. The beneficiary countries in Southeast Asia are Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
Much of this will be achieved through sponsoring WMO flagship activities such as the Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project and the Flash Flood Guidance System in support of wider WMO strategic objectives on disaster risk reduction and service delivery.
Specifically, the project aims to:
Nguyen Linh Ngoc, Vice Minister, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) of Viet Nam, said the project would contribute to enhancing regional and national facilities and capacities for strengthening multi-hazard early warning systems in Southeast Asia to facilitate the production of impact-based forecasts and risk-informed warnings of extreme weather and other high-impact hydro-meteorological events.
Tran Hong Thai, Deputy Director General of the NHMS of Viet Nam, said the project would increase capabilities of the participating countries, including Viet Nam, to cope with hydro-meteorological hazards. Northern Viet Nam recently experienced flash floods and landslides resulting in 200 deaths, and major flooding hit central Viet Nam due to Typhoon Damrey earlier in November.
“WMO hopes that these projects will empower participating National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to maintain effective multi-hazard early warning systems with greater accuracy, more advance notice and in a manner that is more responsive to the needs of users, including disaster management and civil protection agencies, the media and the general public,” said Abdoulaye Harou, Chief of WMO’s Data Processing and Forecasting Division.
The major outcomes were agreements on: i) the governance structure and implementation plans of the Project, ii) reviewing the demonstration phase of the Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project in Southeast Asia which started in January 2016, considering the sub-project’s transition to operations in the near future, iv) developing the Southeast Asia Flash Flood Guidance System, and v) maintaining strong linkages between and undertaking parallel implementation of the two sub-projects.