Europe adapts as climate change becomes reality

The last two years were the warmest ever recorded, with 2016 on track to break that record again after April became the seventh consecutive month to be the hottest on record, according to NASA data. Many of Europe’s river and sea defences are ill-prepared for the surges and heavy rain that will come, while reservoirs aren’t big enough to cope with protracted periods of hot, dry weather.

The European Union provides support for the Caribbean to cope with drought

The impact of natural disasters is increasing, despite countries' efforts to reduce it. Over the past year, drought has affected more than 6.2 million people in the Caribbean, especially in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Irregular and insufficient rainfall throughout 2015 has caused loss of crop and livestock in the region. For the third consecutive year, some people are facing periods of drought that threaten their livelihood, with the most vulnerable groups being small producers, day-labourers and people with no land of their own.

New 7-million-euro project to help mitigate flood risks - Macedonia

The Programme, funded in the amount of 10 million euros, has been designed to help the country overcome the damage caused by flooding in 2015 and to reconstruct and upgrade the country’s flood prevention infrastructure over the next two and a half years. The second contract comprises a 7-million-euro project to support the implementation of priority measures to mitigate the risk of floods in some of the country’s most affected areas. The first 3-million euro project, signed on 11 December 2015, focuses on the reconstruction of damaged roads and bridges, and its implementation is already in progress.

Prevention and preparedness: an integrated approach to disaster risk management in Turkey

In 2011 Nisanur Kepceler watched with a heavy heart as her school was razed to the ground.“I was so upset,” says Kepceler, a student in Istanbul, Turkey, “I didn’t want to see it demolished.”Her sorrow, however, soon turned to joy as she settled into her new, modern school, which was erected were her old school had once stood. Not only was this new building larger and better equipped with art supplies, laboratory tools, and other school equipment – it was also more structurally sound and better able to withstand the shock from an earthquake.


“I feel lucky and special to study in such a modern school like this. I feel safer in this new school,” admits Kepceler.

Resting at the confluence of several tectonic plates, Turkey is no stranger to seismic activity. Over the last two decades no fewer than nine strong earthquakes – registering between 6.0-6.9 on the Richter scale – have occurred across the country. At least three major earthquakes, registering between 7.0-7.9, also occurred during this time. The worst, a 7.6 quake in Izmit was devastating - leveling buildings, killing more than 18,000 people and injuring more than 43,000 people.


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Floods in Europe will cause five times more damage by 2050

Europe’s flood problem is about to get much worse. The good news is there is a solution, says a new report from the European Environment Agency – the first assessment to cover the whole of Europe, according to New Scientist. The floods just keep coming and Europe’s citizens are suffering. There have been more than 3500 floods since 1980, says the report, and the trend is upwards.

UK: Changes to our rivers and floodplains have exacerbated flooding

The recent and ongoing flooding of urban areas in northern England and the Scottish borders has in part been caused by unprecedented rates of rainfall. However, this is only one of the factors that contribute to the development of a flood wave passing down a river. Centuries of alteration to how our river catchments (or drainage basins) function has undoubtedly exacerbated the risk of downstream flooding in every river area in Britain.

UK: Science helps understand landslide risk

Down in the depths of a cutting-edge lab in this English university city, scientists are working to rein in the risk posed by landslides around the globe.The team members at the Laithwaite Landslide Laboratory – part of Durham University’s Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience – are dedicated to building an understanding of the precise causes in order to enhance early warning and thereby reduce death and economic losses.

Mapping disaster risk - INFORM releases 2016 results

Understanding why and where humanitarian crises and disasters are likely to occur is a fundamental step in saving lives. The European Commission supports and utilises INFORM, a global open-source risk assessment tool. The results of the 2016 INFORM were released on 2 December Most crises can be predicted to some extent, and while they cannot always be prevented, the suffering they cause can often be greatly reduced. INFORM was developed last year through a partnership of a number of international organisations, including the European Commission, to support decisions about prevention, preparedness and response to crises and disasters.

EU: ‘Flooded with trees, not water’ – Malawi's children plant hope for a safer future

The weather is becoming more unpredictable for Southern African countries. Cyclones and floods alternate with droughts, leaving the population vulnerable and impoverished. In Malawi, one of the world’s least developed countries, food shortages are looming as many parts suffered a long dry spell followed by floods. Since 2008, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has piloted a disaster risk reduction plan in the region to strengthen people’s resilience to weather hazards and promote innovative approaches. Children make up more than half the population of Malawi, so what better way to have a lasting impact than to recruit them as agents of change? World Vision is one of the European Commission's partners doing just that.