Towards a faster and more efficient European disaster response
The European Commission has recently outlined a twin-track approach to enhance the Union's capacity on civil protection and humanitarian assistance. The proposal includes the creation of a new European Emergency Response Centre by merging the Humanitarian aid (ECHO) and civil protection (MIC) crisis rooms.
Drawing upon its extensive expertise in crisis management technologies and crisis rooms, the JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) will contribute to the establishment of the new European Emergency Response Centre. The new 24/7 centre will be responsible for the coordination of the EU’s civilian disaster response and it will draw upon information and expertise in both humanitarian aid and civil protection to monitor, alert and respond to disasters inside and outside the EU.
The JRC-IPSC will support the Commission in the conceptual design of the new European Emergency Response Centre, including the definition of information and communication technologies infrastructure, as well as relevant software and applications that will assist the new centre to monitor, alert and respond to crises situations. In addition to that, a new crisis room model, entirely designed by the JRC will soon be available at its Ispra site, thus strengthening JRC's capacities in testing crisis management technologies for emergency rooms and situation centres.
Through its forecasting and early warning-alerting tools for humanitarian natural disasters, as well as for European floods and forest fires, the JRC's Institutes for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) and for Environment and Sustainability (IES) will help the newly created European Emergency Response Centre in the activation and coordination of its services to respond to disasters inside and outside the European Union.
JRC's forecasting and early warning tools, already used for some years in support to MIC and ECHO operations, include:
- The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS): a web-based platform that provides reliable alerts and impact estimations immediately after sudden onset disasters.
- the European Flood Alert System (EFAS) which contributes to better preparedness for floods in Europe by complementing the national information with novel probabilistic flood forecasts up to 10 days in advance making use of state of the art weather forecasts.
- the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) which provides consistent and harmonised information on forest fires in Europe; fires are monitored throughout the full cycle, starting with the prediction of forest fire danger. This is followed by the detection of active fires from satellite observations and the assessment of the forest fire damages