JRC News

  1. 5 Mar 2008

    The European Commission has adopted a Communication on reinforcing the Union's Disaster Response capacity. In order to respond to the growing challenges posed by natural and man-made disasters, the communication proposes that the European Union strengthens its abilities at home and abroad to provide civil protection and humanitarian assistance. The Commission has undertaken a screening exercise of all its existing resources and puts forward as a first step an action plan of specific measures to be implemented before the end of 2008. As a concrete example, the communication includes a specific focus on how to improve the Union's response to forest fires.

    The JRC is supporting the EU's disaster response and civil protection activities in many areas. The European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) is one of the cornerstones of this action plan. EFFIS, managed by the JRC Institute for Environment ans Sustainability (IES), provides the fire danger forecast (currently up to 6 days forecast) during the fire season helping in improving preparedness for forest fire fighting. In addition, EFFIS monitors the forest fire situation in Europe through the provision of information of active fires (hot spots) and the rapid assessment of forest fire damages in the countries. This information is critical for the Member States and the Commission in cases of catastrophic fire events (e.g. Portugal 2003 or Greece 2007) and facilitates the work of the Union's Monitoring and Information Center in is work of coordination of forest fire fighting.

    The JRC IES also develops the European Flood Alert System (EFAS), that will be capable of providing medium-range flood simulations across Europe with a lead-time (time between the detection and the arrival of the flood) of between 3 to 10 days.

    With its expertise in satellite images analysis and information technologies, the JRC Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) is conducting several activities to provide scientific and technical support in crisis situations. IPSC's work supports different phases, from crisis preparedness to damage assessment, including also early warning, alerting and situational monitoring. Some recent examples of IPSC's activities in support to Crisis Management are:

  2. 10 Jul 2009

    Following the spread of major forest fires in Corsica earlier this month, French authorities made a request for additional fire fighting aircraft through the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC), based in Brussels. The MIC responded by providing European reserve fire-fighting aircraft within three hours of the request.

  3. 3 Jul 2014

    A recently published JRC report makes recommendations on the creation of a global index to monitor the progress of climate-resilient development policies. The index should include metrics on extreme climate events, climate vulnerability and adaptive capacity, taking into account the climate vulnerability of ecosystem services and the role of natural resources in climate adaptation. As a first step towards building the index, JRC scientists propose to construct a platform which will act as interface between science and policy on climate-resilient development.

  4. 20 May 2014

    On 15 May Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia asked the international community for assistance in their battle against the flooding. The European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) - developed by the JRC and now part of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS) - provides European overviews of ongoing and upcoming floods to national hydrological services and to the European Response Coordination Centre (ERCC).

  5. 17 May 2011

    EU's ministers for justice and home affairs agreed to promote the use of early flood warning systems such as the European Flood Alert System (EFAS), when discussing integrated flood management at the Council meeting on 12 May.

  6. 6 Jun 2013

    Since beginning of June central Europe has faced, once again, severe flooding of the rivers Elbe and Danube and their tributaries with severe damage already reported. The flood waters are threatening to cause more damage as the flood waves travel down river.

    The JRC is contributing to European emergency preparedness through raising awareness and monitoring of the events. The European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) informed the relevant national authorities and the European Commission's Emergency Response Centre (ERC) several days in advance with reports of potential flooding.

  7. 28 Apr 2009

    Following the earthquake of 6 April 2009 near L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy, the European Commission-operated Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) has been closely following the situation on the ground in an effort to support management of the disaster.

    In the first phases of the event, maps and situation reports produced by the JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) have been used in order to give an overall assessment to the MIC and to all civil protection agencies in Europe.

    Two JRC experts also participated, along with an international team of engineers, in a post-earthquake field reconnaissance mission to survey damage to buildings and lifelines and examine geotechnical failures with a view to improving design and retrofitting. By sharing assessment techniques and methods, the presence of international experts contributes to the effectivness of operations. European experts from France, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the JRC collaborated with engineers of the Italian Civil Protection in the damage assessment to private buildings, as well as to buildings of historic and artistic value.

    Closely supported by JRC-IPSC, the MIC is the operational heart of the Community Mechanism for Civil Protection. It serves as a communications hub at the centre of emergency relief operations, disseminates information on civil protection preparedness and supports co-ordination, facilitating the provision of European assistance through the Mechanism.

    The core mission of IPSC's European Laboratory for Structural Assessment is to carry out research on structural behaviour of buildings and performs vulnerability assessment of civil infrastructures. 

    Further IPSC scientific and technical crisis management tools include the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS), providing a platform for stakeholders in international disaster response to exchange disaster-related information and automated analysis of satellite images for the processing, interpretation and analysis of geo-spatial data, which helps to quantify damages following conflicts or humanitarian and natural disasters.

  8. 16 Jan 2009

    The European Commission has adopted a decision establishing a new major accident report form. The form, intended for use by national authorities as of December 2008, will also be part of a new online system for reporting accidents and disseminating lessons learned from them. The initiative comes in the context of the Seveso II Directive, which aims to promote the exchange of information among EU Member States on accidents and 'near-misses'.

  9. 9 Mar 2015

    The JRC's European radiological data exchange platform (EURDEP) makes radiological monitoring data widely available from most European countries in nearly real-time. This year, the tool celebrates 20 years of service, and features new developments. A new feature allows interactive maps to be produced, displaying public EURDEP data in a simple, intuitive and attractive way.

  10. 18 Apr 2008

    As the southern shores of Europe warm up, the risk of forest fires increases. The European Commission and Member States are working closely together to prepare for the coming forest fire season, building on the lessons learnt from the tragic experiences of 2007. Five Member States and the European Commission's disaster Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) are involved in a large-scale simulation exercise in Sardinia that runs from 16 to 19 April. The exercise, SARDINIA 2008, forms part of a larger pilot project co-financed by the European Commission, which aims at developing the notion of a rapid European intervention force for disasters.