JRC supports EU disaster prevention efforts
On Monday, 23 February the European Commission adopted two Communications related to natural and man-made disasters: the first on an EU-level approach to reducing their impact and a second on an EU strategy for supporting disaster risk reduction in developing countries. The Communications represent a first attempt to establish a more strategic approach to European responses to disasters in the EU and beyond.
Recognising the importance of investing in research activities in the disasters management cycle, the Communications fix as a notable objective strengthening the coordination of EU-financed research activities. In this context, the Commission will reinforce the link between existing early warning systems, whose reliability and accessibility is crucial for mitigating disasters. This includes linking the JRC's alert systems for forest fires (EFFIS) and floods (EFAS) as part of the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS), a joint initiative of the JRC and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The JRC, through its Institutes for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) and for Environment and Sustainability (IES) plays an important role in supporting the EU throughout the crisis management cycle, from prevention and risk mapping to immediate response, damage analysis and reconstruction.
The Communications can be found here:
Concrete examples of JRC's work in the area of disasters
Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS)
GDACS provides a platform allowing stakeholders in international disaster response to exchange disaster-related information in a structured and predictable manner. GDACS collects information from existing physical information systems (such as seismological organisations) and adds value by assessing affected population density and vulnerability.
European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS)
EFFIS provides a web based platform supporting the services in charge of the protection of forests against fires in the EU countries. EFFIS delivers to the European Commission services and the European Parliament updated and reliable information on wild-land and forest fires in Europe. Information provided includes daily updated meteorological fire danger maps of Europe and forecasts for 6 days.
European Flood Alert System (EFAS)
JRC-IES has developed the European Flood Alert System (EFAS) which provides harmonised, transnational information about the possible risk of flooding for all European rivers with a forecasting range of up to 10 days.
JRC-IPSC has also developed a wave propagation model for real-time evaluation of potential tsunami risks. In the event of an earthquake fulfilling specific conditions, the model runs automatically and publishes the results of tsunami propagation predictions within minutes. Furthermore, JRC-IPSC develops innovative techniques for the processing, interpretation, and analysis of geo-spatial data. This technique can help to quantify damage following conflicts or natural disasters. In 2008, JRC-IPSC provided pre- and post-disaster high resolution optical and radar satellite data to the Chinese Academy of Science's Centre for Earth Observation and Digital Earth (CEODE), as well as a team of specialists who supported Chinese authorities in the immediate aftermath of the Wen Chuan earthquake.