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Disaster risks in Europe: complex and increasing but better understood

Civil protection exercise
A civil protection exercise. Understanding disaster risk is paramount for effective emergency response. © EU/ECHO.

The European Commission has drawn up a landscape of the main disaster risks Europe faces today. Flooding, extreme weather and critical infrastructure disruption are among the top five risks across the European Union, as identified by Member States. Interdependencies are growing in a risk landscape that is increasingly influenced by climate change.

Improving the understanding of disaster risks in Europe is an important step towards effective disaster risk reduction, and constitutes the basis for planning emergency preparedness and response to emergencies and disasters in Europe.

The Overview of Risks is one of the disaster prevention measures foreseen under the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. At the same time, it represents one of the European Commission's main commitments set out in the Action Plan for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Its launch coincides with the participation of the European Commission at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, held from 22 to 26 May in Cancun, Mexico.

The Overview of Risks compiles outcomes of disaster risk assessments undertaken at national levels across Europe and cross-references them with scientific and other data. The analysis highlights the predominant attention given to disaster risks such as flood, extreme weather, forest fire, industrial accidents and the disruption of critical infrastructure.

Other disaster risks such as pandemics, radiological accidents, terrorism, cybercrime, earthquakes and animal diseases are also of particular importance to emergency management authorities across Europe.

EU-funded research addressing these and other risks contributes to better risk and disaster management and the anticipation of new and emerging risks.

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