Advances in forecasting and technology promise more effective early warning systems for natural hazards. What stands between disaster alert and action, and how can the impact of early warning tools be enhanced?
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Source: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A | 2006
This paper reviews the main elements and development of early warning systems, and calls for a global, comprehensive and people-centred system for all hazards and all countries. It stresses the need for a strong focus on the people exposed to risk, as well as a systems approach that incorporates all relevant factors contributing to that risk — whether they arise from natural hazards, social vulnerabilities, or other processes such as migration or development practices.
The paper highlights two disaster reduction frameworks — the Hyogo Framework and the UN International Strategy on Disaster Reduction — which it says are "critically important" for implementing better early warning systems. It concludes by emphasising that despite scientific and technical advances, putting them into practice effectively will require sound institutional mechanisms and multidisciplinary science.