Critical Gaps in Disaster Warnings Highlighted in Central and West Africa, Report Finds

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Critical Gaps in Disaster Warnings Highlighted in Central and West Africa, Report Finds
Critical Gaps in Disaster Warnings Highlighted in Central and West Africa, Report Finds

Africa-Press – Gambia. Key Points:
Disaster Warnings: A staggering 62% of individuals in Central and West Africa who experienced disasters in the last five years received no prior warning, underscoring critical gaps in early warning systems.

Resilience Challenges: All African subregions, including Central and West Africa, scored below 50 on the World Risk Poll Resilience Index, positioning them as the world’s least resilient regions, alongside Latin America and the Caribbean.

Digital Solutions: The report highlights mobile phones and digital early warning systems as pivotal tools to bridge gaps in disaster preparedness, especially among underserved populations in rural areas.

Detailed Overview:

A recent report by a global safety charity reveals alarming deficiencies in disaster early warning systems across Central and West Africa. Highlighting data from the World Risk Poll Resilience Index, the study underscores that 62% of individuals in these regions who encountered disasters lacked any prior warning. This stark statistic reflects a significant challenge in disaster preparedness and response, compounded by rising global risk levels, partially attributed to climate change.

The resilience index, which evaluates regions based on their capacity to withstand and recover from disasters, positioned all African subregions poorly, with scores falling below 50 out of 100. This places them among the least resilient regions globally, alongside Latin America and the Caribbean. Notably, Central and West Africa’s resilience index score remained unchanged from previous years, indicating stagnant progress in bolstering disaster resilience.

The report advocates for leveraging mobile phones and digital technologies to enhance early warning capabilities, given that 77% of those who did not receive warnings own mobile phones. This presents a critical opportunity to reach underserved populations, particularly those in rural areas with limited access to traditional communication channels.

Francis Anthony Reffell, from the Centre of Dialogue on Human Settlement and Poverty Alleviation in Sierra Leone, emphasized the importance of effective early warning systems in mitigating disaster impacts. He stressed the dual responsibility of governments to enhance system efficiency and citizens to heed warnings for effective disaster response.

Nancy Hey, Director of Evidence and Insight at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, highlighted the report’s role in guiding policymakers toward community-focused resilience strategies. She underscored the need for targeted interventions in rural and vulnerable communities, addressing disparities in education and financial resilience.

Dr. Kate Strachan, from ICLEI Africa, emphasized that climate resilience is indispensable for safeguarding urban livelihoods and ecosystems in African cities. She warned of the dire consequences of inadequate resilience measures amid climate change impacts.

The full report, titled ‘Resilience in a Changing World’, provides comprehensive insights into global resilience trends and strategies. It calls for concerted efforts to strengthen early warning systems and build community resilience across vulnerable regions. Access the complete 2024 World Risk Poll report for further insights and detailed resilience index data.

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