To act or not to act: Can flood risk data trigger humanitarian preparedness?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 5:00 PM
Erin Coughlan1,2, Maarten van Aalst2, Bart van den Hurk1,3 and Pablo Suarez2, (1)Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands, (2)Red Cross / Red Crescent Climate Centre, The Hague, Netherlands, (3)Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, Netherlands
As forecasts of flood risk have become more widely available, the humanitarian sector is developing practical methods to keep up with this influx of valuable information. When a flood warning is issued, what should be done by humanitarians to prepare for impact? What warnings are strong enough to justify humanitarian action? The Red Cross / Red Crescent Climate Centre is answering these questions in the design and implementation of a program of “forecast-based financing”. In new pilots supported by the German Red Cross and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, financing is placed on standby to be disbursed based on flood warnings; this will allow the Red Cross to take preparedness actions immediately. Here, we will describe a range of datasources that can be used as part of a flood warning in data-scarce Uganda, and a method for identifying humanitarian actions that should be taken when warnings cross a threshold of severity.