Floods lessons to be discussed at civil protection workshop

Forty experts in flood risk management from the Civil Protection Authorities and other ministries from, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Tunisia and Turkey will meet for three days to discuss the lessons learned from recent flood events in the region, be informed about the best ways to manage the risk of floods and discuss what Mediterranean countries can do to reduce their vulnerability in the face of such high-impact events.

A press release said that during the workshop, organised by the EU-funded Programme on Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters (PPRD South) and to be held from 15 to 17 February 2011 in Istanbul, an analysis would be made on the different types of floods affecting Mediterranean countries – flash floods, river floods, coastal floods – and on the main reasons for the increasing vulnerability to floods: uncontrolled urban sprawl on flood prone areas, construction on slopes, deforestation and land use changes, which reduce soil water retention capacity and increase the run-off rate in case of heavy rains.
Participants will study how to reduce the flood impact on people, on environment, on cultural heritage and on the economy. They will receive information on the EU Floods Directive with its flood risk assessment tools, risk maps and management plans. The most recent developments regarding flood forecasting and early warning systems will be explained by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, which will focus on the difficulty to deal with flash floods, the most dangerous among the natural disasters in the Mediterranean.
Finally, during the practical exercises, participants will simulate the whole process of flood risk assessment, mapping and planning the right management measures with the aim to help reduce the impact of such a natural disaster.

The €5 million PPRD South Programme – which runs for three years and 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) – is also organising training workshops dealing with risks in the region such as wild fires, technological disasters, floods, earthquakes, epidemics and drought, among others.

*The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument – known as the ENPI – is the main financial mechanism through which assistance is given to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Partner Countries, as well as Russia. It is the cooperation instrument, managed by EuropeAid, through which decisions taken on a political level are turned into actions on the ground.*