Climate forecasts in disaster management: Red Cross flood operations in West Africa, 2008

Lisette Martine Braman*, Maarten Krispijn van Aalst, Simon J. Mason, Pablo Suarez, Youcef Ait-Chellouche, Arame Tall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In 2008, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) used a seasonal forecast for West Africa for the first time to implement an Early Warning, Early Action strategy for enhanced flood preparedness and response. Interviews with disaster managers suggest that this approach improved their capacity and response. Relief supplies reached flood victims within days, as opposed to weeks in previous years, thereby preventing further loss of life, illness, and setbacks to livelihoods, as well as augmenting the efficiency of resource use. This case demonstrates the potential benefits to be realised from the use of medium-to-long-range forecasts in disaster management, especially in the context of potential increases in extreme weather and climate-related events due to climate variability and change. However, harnessing the full potential of these forecasts will require continued effort and collaboration among disaster managers, climate service providers, and major humanitarian donors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-164
Number of pages21
JournalDisasters
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Climate
  • Disaster
  • Early warning
  • Flood
  • Preparedness
  • Seasonal forecast

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