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Developing Countries: Natural Disasters

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to encourage the implementation of early warning systems for natural disasters in developing countries. (222480)

The UK believes that the most effective early warning systems are those which are owned by national governments and involve vulnerable communities, rather than focusing only on developing high-tech equipment. Examples of Department for International Development (DFID) support include:

£1.5 million to the United Nations Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) to support an Indian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning System (IOTWS).

£2.15 million to an International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) disaster risk reduction programme which involved a component on early warning systems.

£7.5 million to Bangladesh (since 2004) to improve its early warning systems through a Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme. This programme, among other things, has established a Disaster Management Information Centre which in the coming period is expected to develop one nation-wide community early warning system, and implement training and simulation exercises with key technical and operational partners.