There is sound evidence that natural disasters can trigger technological disasters (a dynamic also called domino effect), and that these concomitant events (also known as natechs) may pose tremendous risks to countries and communities that are unprepared for such risks. In Europe there are many vulnerable installations close to rivers, or located in earthquake prone areas, or subject to other kinds of natural hazards, thus potentially prone to their impacts. The recent floods across Europe in the summer of 2002 are an example showing the potential danger of natech disasters occurring near populated areas. This was the case, for example, in the Czech Republic and in Germany where rapid response by Civil Protection Authorities prevented disasters of vast proportions. Because of the threat posed to society and the environment by this domino effect, the NEDIES project has launched a research activity in this area to assess the state-of-the-art of natech risk management in the European Union (EU) and Candidate Countries, as well as identify needs and assist actors and stakeholders in identifying and prioritizing strategies for natech risk reduction. Because of the importance of this area of investigation and application, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) and JRC choose to collaborate in the study of the problem and identification of potential solutions in the framework of a collaboration agreement for the period 2003-2006.
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