EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS

UN/ISDR – UN Office for DRR [ 15 January 2009 ]
 
Definition:
 
The set of capacities needed to generate and disseminate timely and meaningful warning information to enable individuals, communities and organizations threatened by a hazard to prepare and to act appropriately and in sufficient time to reduce the possibility of harm or loss. 

Comment: This definition encompasses the range of factors necessary to achieve effective responses to warnings. A people-centred early warning system necessarily comprises four key elements: knowledge of the risks; monitoring, analysis and forecasting of the hazards; communication or dissemination of alerts and warnings; and local capabilities to respond to the warnings received. The expression “end-to-end warning system” is also used to emphasize that warning systems need to span all steps from hazard detection through to community response.


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