National Civil Protection Department
The 5-million Euro EU-funded Programme on Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters (PPRD South) is organizing a four-day workshop on “Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Civil Protection” which will take place in Rome, Italy on 9-12 March 2010.
26 experts in Disaster Risk Information Management from the Civil Protection Authorities of the 14 Mediterranean and Balkan countries participating in the Programme will gather with the aim to learn how to set up an information system that will help identify prevention and preparedness activities to minimize the effects of natural and man-made hazards on populations, infrastructures and properties in the region.
One of the main objectives of PPRD South is to increase the knowledge on the exposure to disasters of the Mediterranean and Balkan region. To this end the three-year Programme - which is managed by a consortium led by the Italian Civil Protection Department together with the French, Algerian, Egyptian Civil Protection Authorities and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) - includes among its activities the organisation of a series of seminars, meetings and study visits.
The workshop in Rome will provide the opportunity to learn on risk information management and will help make the first steps towards the setting up of a Mediterranean PPRD South Geographic Information System for Civil Protection. GIS is an information system that merges cartography and database technology. It stores, analyzes and makes available data and information that are linked to locations, allowing users to present those data through thematic maps.
The PPRD South GIS will illustrate the distribution of natural and man-made hazards that the countries of the region face, as well as the data available on the populations exposed to such hazards and on the existing key infrastructures and hot spots. At the end of the workshop, the participants will be able to use the PPRD South GIS to statistically estimate the magnitude of a possible disaster on a specific population, to assess where damage might be the greatest and to identify how to improve disaster preparedness in the area.
Background information on the PPRD South Programme
The PPRD South is the third phase of the EU-funded Euro-Mediterranean Programme on Civil Protection which started in 1998. Building on the experience of the previous programmes, a 5-year Pilot Programme and the “Bridge” programme, the new 3-year Programme aims at further improving the results achieved by contributing, in particular, to the development in the Mediterranean region of a Civil Protection culture based on prevention rather than response.
The new Programme is coordinated by a consortium led by the Italian Civil Protection Department together with the National Civil Protection Authorities of Algeria, Egypt, France and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
Its objective is to develop and reinforce Prevention, Preparedness and Response capacities of the Civil Protection services in the Euro-Mediterranean region through increased institutional cooperation between the EU and the Mediterranean Countries, but also establishing closer links with the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and among the countries themselves.
PPRD South aims also at developing a national and regional risk atlas, making study visits and providing technical assistance, organising simulation exercises and improving the information and awareness of Mediterranean populations regarding risk exposure, prevention and response.
Disasters in the Mediterranean Region
Although the geographical characteristics of the Mediterranean region ensure a wide range of climatic, biological and cultural benefits to the resident populations as well as to the visitors who travel to the region, they also create favourable conditions for a high level of exposition of those persons to a broad range of risks of natural and man-made disasters. According to the Emergency Event Database (EM-DAT), over the last 28 years about 31 million people in the Mediterranean region have been affected by natural and technological disasters and the cost of the damages reached € 125 billion. Of these 31 million people, 14 millions were affected by drought, 8 million by earthquakes and 8 million by floods and storms. The most frequent and destructive disasters in the Mediterranean region are earthquakes, floods, drought, tsunamis, wild fires, sea pollution and industrial accidents.
Dealing with disaster risk reduction at international level in the Mediterranean region is nowadays a must considering the frequent transnational impact of disasters as recently demonstrated by the torrential rains and floods which simultaneously struck Israel, Jordan, the occupied Palestinian territory and Egypt in mid January 2010. Contact: Alessandro Candeloro, +39 349 0850931, email@example.com