UK to fund disaster forecasting tech pilots

17 Apr 18

The UK government has pledged £23.5m to help Asian regions better forecast natural disasters, the Department for International Development announced yesterday.

At least 10 pilots trialling new technologies and innovations to warn vulnerable groups of people about climate change are expected to be delivered.

One regional and four sub-regional forecasting and early- warning systems providing targeted information on the impacts of weather events such as floods and storms will also be set up.

International development secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “Changing global climates will impact all our lives, but can have deadly consequences for the world’s poorest people.

“By improving the use of forecasting information such as early-warning systems, and sharing the Met Office’s world-leading expertise, we can help governments and communities prepare for these shocks, so fewer lives are lost each year to extreme weather.”

Professor Stephen Belcher, the Met Office chief scientist, said: “Improving resilience and forecasting will provide a lifeline for vulnerable communities helping them to cope with weather and climate shocks through measures, which improve food security and provide protection from extremes of weather.”

The Met Office will provide £12m of the £23.5m, the UK through the World Bank will supply £10m and £1.5m will come from activities directly carried out by DFID over four years.

DfID also announced it will give £19m of additional support for Caribbean countries, following the devastating effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria last autumn.

This will help to “strengthen disaster preparedness and financial resilience”, DfID said.

Mordaunt added: “Last year hurricanes Irma and Maria showed once again the destruction extreme weather events can cause – and the devastating effect this can have on the lives of families and communities.

“When disaster does strike, it is crucial that finance is easily and quickly available to help people rebuild their homes and livelihoods.”

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