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Over 800 million people, mostly in the developing world, are chronically undernourished, eating too little to meet minimal energy requirements (Fig. 26.6). Millions more suffer acute malnutrition during transitory or seasonal food insecurity. Over 200 million children suffer from protein-energy malnutrition and each year nearly 13 million under the age of five die as a direct or indirect result of hunger and malnutrition.

tte essential purpose of EWS is to give decision makers sufficient time to take action to avoid the worst effects of impending drought or poor harvests, for example, in an effort to protect the most susceptible areas.

EWS are based on a very extensive multidisciplinary analysis, tte utilisation of satellite remote sensing for the provision of meteorological information, also integrated by ground data, vegetation and land cover maps is the common denominator. As reported in "Proceedings of Early Warning Systems and Desertification" (AA. VV. 1999) a list ofEWS used operationally in developing countries is given (Table 26.5).

tte socio-economic aspect is often predominant, however, a more statistical, agricultural and food approach is adopted, for example, by GIEWS (Global Information and Early Warning System), while AP3A (Alerte Précoce et Prévision des Production Agricoles) extends its range of action from agrometeorology to livestock, also integrating them with socio-economic baseline information.

In particular the AP3A methodology, instead of being centred on the most classic economic aspects (prices, markets, etc.), pays greater attention to the agrome-teorological and agro-pastoral analyses. Agricultural production is the factor that mostly determines food availability: in the Sahel region this factor is based on rain-fed crops and is mostly destined to self-consumption.

tterefore, the so-called food risk zones are those where the rainfed cereal production is insufficient, tte agrometeorological aspect is, anyway, integrated with the socio-economic aspects, represented by basic information on the agricultural and pastoral production, data on population, etc. GIEWS monitors the condition

Table26.5 Early Warning Systems (EWS) used in developing countries.

Agrhymet Alerte Précoce et Prévision des Production Agricoles (AP3A) project


USAID's Famine Early Warning System (FEWS)


SADC Food Security Programme (/REWU)

http://www.sadc.int/english/fanr/food_security/food_ earlywarn ing.php

FAO Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) on Food and Agriculture


of food crops in all regions and countries of the world. Information is gathered on all factors that might influence planted area and yields. In many drought prone countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, there is a lack of continuous, reliable information on weather and crop conditions. For this reason, GIEWS, in collaboration with FAO's Africa Real Time Environmental Monitoring Information System (ARTEMIS) established a crop monitoring system using near real-time satellite images. Data from satellite systems are used for monitoring the various crop seasons. Data received directly at FAO ARTEMIS from the European METEOSAT satellite are used to produce cold cloud duration (CCD) images for Africa every 10 days, ttese provide a proxy estimate for rainfall, as cold clouds are often responsible for rain, and high cold cloud duration over an area is indicative of significant rainfall. In addition to rainfall monitoring, the System makes extensive use of Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) images that provide an indication of the vigour and extent of vegetation cover, ttese allow GIEWS analysts to monitor crop conditions throughout the season.

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