Regional Workshop to Advance Disaster Risk Reduction in the Arab region 2012 / UNISDR

Integrating early warning response capabilities and enhancing disaster resilience in the United Arab Emirates

Early warning (EW) is an essential element in disaster mitigation as it contributes to flexibility, reduces danger and protects the country’s economy.

Case Study

Developing a framework to integrate early warning response capabilities and enhance disaster resilience in the United Arab Emirates.

HFA Priority

HFA Priorities 2 and 3

Abstract

Early warning (EW) is an essential element in disaster mitigation as it contributes to flexibility, reduces danger and protects the country’s economy.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) defines it as a system that provides information in a timely and effective way via selective institutions. This allows individuals who are vulnerable to disaster risks to take the necessary measures to avoid or minimize their risks and prepare effective responses. 

The four major elements of EW systems, are: risk Knowledge; monitoring and warning; dissemination and communication; and response capabilities.

It has been proven through analyses of past disasters that the link between these four elements is weak, which leads to weakness in the effectiveness of the system. The focus was on the development of technology and less on the members of at risk communities. The lack of institutional cooperation is also one of the main challenges to effective EW systems.

There is therefore a need to encourage researchers to propose am EW framework for disasters in the United Arab Emirates. For such a framework to be effective it must involve members of the community as well as increase institutional cooperation between government agencies, the private and local sectors. The focus must now be on the potential scenarios, evacuations and the training of evacuation experts who can perform efficiently when a disaster strikes.

Context

The problem is the lack of awareness in the communities and in the schools about disasters such as earthquakes, floods and local storms.

Location

Abu Dhabi –United Arab Emirates

How was the problem addressed?

Field exercises were carried out on the ground, which included eviction procedures throughout Abu Dhabi.

The exercises were carried out by the police, ambulance, civil defense, education sector, tourism and culture institutions, as well as in the factories.

What were the main challenges and how they were overcome?

It was difficult to coordinate the participation and maintain ongoing communication before and during and after the exercise scenario.

What are the lessons learned?

Participants in the exercises did not know places such as disaster assembly points during disasters particularly in the factories.

What could have been done differently?

More schools could be covered to increase awareness and the readiness of community members for disasters.

Results

There was an increase in the levels of disaster preparedness among members of communities. 

Measuring success

The evacuation processes were timed to how long the processes were. There was cooperation and coordination among the participants.  

A school form was designed and provided to schools to assess the exercises in the schools.

The indicators were the length of the evacuations and the extent of cooperation between the parties.

Relevance to HFA

The Hyogo Framework for Action HFA stresses the need to activate early warning through community involvement by increasing community awareness.

In the case of Abu Dhabi the development of disaster awareness in communities was followed by the implementation of effective early warning systems (HFA Priority 1).

The actions taken need to be publicized widely so that communities grasp the importance.

Potential for replication

The continuous emergency and evacuation operations can increase awareness in the wider UAE community.

Contribution

Abdullah Ali Saghiry al Hamoudi,

Ph.D.Researcher (United Kingdom)on theactivation ofa regulatory frameworkfor theearly warning system for disasters in the UAE.

Telephone +97 150 238 6690/ ab18205@hotmail.com
Dr. Zeeshan Aziz – PHD programme supervisor:

Telephone +44 74 0001 2759 /+44 16 1295 3822

Email: Z.Aziz@salford.ac.uk