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Mitigation Measures in Emergency Management

Three years after historic floods deluged the continent, the European Environment Agency (EEA) issued its inaugural report, warning of the climate risks the continent faces. For low-lying coastal regions, flooding continues to loom large.

What mitigation measures in emergency management can be implemented to mitigate the risks? Read on to find out.

Global rise in severe weather calls for mitigation measures in emergency management

Of course, Europe isn’t alone in facing severe-weather threats. Last year broke the record for billion-dollar disasters in the U.S.

And far from being a one off, 2023 was part of a broader trend. The average number of severe events and their associated costs have all increased since the 1980s.

What does it all mean?

Researcher Margaret Cook summarized that gone are the days of one-in-every-100-year weather events.

Instead, modelling now predicts that in many climate-vulnerable areas, a 1-in-20-year annual maximum 24-hour precipitation rate is likely to become a 1-in-5 to 1-in-15-year event by the end of the century.

Mitigation measures to pre-empt severe weather events sooner

The EEA report, for its part, calls on governments and populations to recognize these risks and do more, faster.

What then can stakeholders do to build resiliency, protect communities, and avoid a repeat of costly events?

The numbers suggest that investments should go into cost-effective mitigation measures in climate-vulnerable areas. The measures most often cited by experts include adopting and strengthening building codes, upgrading existing buildings, and improving transportation systems.

Mitigation best-practices in emergency management to reduce flooding risk

What other mitigation measures in emergency management pay off? For catastrophic flooding, best practice has converged around a river-basin approach.

In other words, water-management systems, forecasting, flood defense measures, and crisis management should all be organized on a river basin basis, cutting across regional boundaries.

Why? Such an approach accounts for the interdependence and interaction of effects of individual measures implemented along the same water course.

What’s more, investments should also be made in cooperation with the relevant organizations in the fields of hydrology and meteorology, mitigation planning, river control, civil protection, as well as crisis management.

Other mitigation measures in emergency management

Experts also advise that effective mitigation might also require structural measures, e.g., limiting human activity in known flood plains (to the extent practicable) through building codes and legislation to keep structures away from flood-prone areas and appropriate land-use policies for vulnerable areas.

Whatever gets developed, though, should eventually be compiled in a comprehensive action plan for reducing damage. That action plan will accomplish the following:

  • Draw long-term conclusions for preventive action in water management, land use, settlement policy, and finance
  • Define the scope of responsibilities in the flood protection system at levels of the government and local administration, responsibilities of public (individuals) and business companies
  • Ensure permanent and integrated planning of functions and use of the river basin
  • Specify principles for its organization and co-ordinates investment activities and other activities affecting the river basin. It should also form conditions for ensuring permanent harmony of all natural, civilization and cultural functions in the basin.

Finally, not only is severe weather here to stay, but the data suggests it’s getting worse. Stakeholders, as a result, must proactively change focus to mitigation measures in emergency management, promoting the coordinated development and management of actions regarding water, land, and related resources to achieve resilience, improve response, and cut down on recovery costs.

What other mitigation measures pay off? Download our guide: ROI of Mitigation Measures in Emergency Management to find out.


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