These systems not only prevent loss of life, but also reduce the economic impact of natural disasters, officials say
International and local weather experts have highlighted the importance of early warning systems in reducing natural hazards that lead to floods, heat waves, droughts and earthquakes.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Regional Conference of the Second Regional Association (Asia) (RECO) opened in Abu Dhabi on Monday, and in her keynote speech, Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, spoke to the United Nations The Office for Disaster Risk (UNDRR) said: “Early warning systems are an essential component of disaster risk reduction. They prevent loss of life and reduce the economic impact of natural disasters.
“Increasing the availability of multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information should be a disaster reduction goal for all countries.”
The 3-day synoptic conference is hosted by the UAE National Center for Meteorology (NCM).
WMO Secretary-General Petri Taalas said the purpose of early warning systems is to reduce the risk of disasters.
“These disaster risks are compounded by the socioeconomic vulnerability of populations exposed to disasters. Therefore, early warning systems must be inclusive and sensitive to different sources of vulnerability,” Taalas said.
“It is important for countries to use early warning systems to correctly identify imminent danger. Governments should also ensure that people and sectors at risk receive a warning alert, understand it and act on it.”
Addressing the conference, Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director General of the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), said: “It is taking a toll on growing human, financial and environmental costs, exacerbating food security and poverty and hindering sustainable development in Asia.
“In 2021 alone, weather- and climate-related disasters cost USD 35.6 billion and affect nearly 50 million people in Asia.”
He pointed out that the main disasters in 2022 cover the development field, from floods in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Thailand, droughts in China, heat waves in India, Japan and Pakistan, to earthquakes in Afghanistan.
“Floods are the deadliest, accounting for 75 percent of disaster events in the region and 89 percent of total deaths globally,” Al Mandous said.
“Over the past 150 years, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services have collected and standardized the data that underpin the weather forecasts we now take for granted to improve the well-being of present and future generations. The history of WMO data exchange and new data policies is one of scientific collaboration A success story that saves lives and livelihoods.”
Held in physical and hybrid formats from 13-16 March, the event attracted more than 150 participants – including ambassadors from RA II’s 35 member countries in Asia, key officials from WMO and other UN committees and offices, and WMO Members from Asia.
The meeting aimed to provide a forum for National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in RA II to address emerging issues and challenges, strengthen regional cooperation, and strengthen partnerships to implement WMO resolutions and decisions in line with regional priorities.