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  • Community based flood early warning systems: Improving climate change adaptation in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region
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Community based flood early warning systems: Improving climate change adaptation in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region

Source(s):  Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs - Harvard Kennedy School

This policy brief aims to provide a background on the CBFEWS model and its mechanics and explain the prerequisite conditions for early warning system expansion and implementation. The policy brief is a part of research conducted by Harvard Kennedy School Policy Analysis Exercise with support of ICIMOD and UNFCCC/NWP-LAKI to address one of the knowledge gap that serves as a barrier to climate adaption: a lack of access to early warning systems for multiple hazards in the HKH region. The research is part of a yearlong project for second-year Master in Public Policy candidates to work with real-world clients in crafting and presenting timely policy recommendations.

The paper finds that vulnerable communities used to rely on a 'watch and warn' system to disseminate flood information, which involved a community member physically monitoring river water levels on or near the embarkment or river. They expressed their relief after the implementation of CBFEWS, which introduced a safer, faster, and less labor-intensive end-tp-end system of transmitting flood information to vulnerable communities, thereby extending lead-time for communities to prepare and respond before a flood. It also helped women members of the vulnerable family to feel safer as the system would trigger the alarm if the water level rises in the river and they get sufficient time to prepare themselves. The findings of the research is divided for existing prospective CBFEWS sites.



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  • Community based flood early warning systems: Improving climate change adaptation in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region
  • Publication date 2020
  • Author(s) Bicknell, Daniel; Narlock, Colleen. Rambert, Reine
  • Number of pages 8 p.

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