The United Nations and Early Warning Systems for Disasters: What You Need to Know

A recent study found that around half of the world’s countries had early warning systems for natural disasters, including typhoons, droughts, and heatwaves. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the World Meteorological Organization have worked together to issue a joint report; there has been a discernible rise in both the occurrence of and the intensity of severe weather events. According to estimates provided by the United Nations, as many as 3.6 billion people live in regions that are very vulnerable to climate change’s effects and the disasters it brings. The number of natural disasters being recorded has increased by five as a direct result of climate change brought on by human activity and the intensification and unpredictability of weather patterns.

By the year 2030, the UNDRR projects that there will be 560 disasters every year around the globe. It forecasts that by the year 2030, the frequency of intense heatwaves will have increased three times while the frequency of droughts will have increased by just 30%.

Loretta Hieber Girardet is now the head of the Risk Knowledge, Monitoring, and Capacity Development Branch at the UNDRR. Her position is that expanding early warning systems is an essential action for communities to do if they are to protect themselves and adapt to the consequences of climate change. However, she notes that only around half of the world’s landmass has completely working systems.

This suggests that about one-third of the world’s population cannot access dependable early warning systems. This is especially true for those living in countries with low income and island nations, as well as almost two-thirds of the population of Africa.

Every climate-related danger doesn’t need to have catastrophic repercussions. There are a variety of early warning systems available. Still, most of them are specifically designed to cope with a single category of threats, such as hurricanes or floods. However, given the multiple catastrophic and unexpected events related to climate change, the United Nations strongly urges countries to invest in multi-hazard early warning systems because it can reduce the destruction by 30% and possibly save many more lives than predicted.

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