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Xynthia storm one year later: strong actions in France to prevent floods

Xynthia storm one year later: strong actions in France to prevent floods

During the night between 27 and 28 February 2010, storm Xynthia struck the western regions of France causing the death of 53 people. One year later, the French Prime Minister has validated the national floods management plan which was prepared through a 8 months participatory process involving all relevant actors. The plan was presented on 17 February 2011 by the French Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Mrs. Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, as the governmental roadmap for flood risk prevention. The plan aims to better managing urban growth in flood risky areas, to improve weather forecasting and floods early warning system and to strengthen existing floods protection systems. The plan includes an action program with more than 60 concrete floods prevention actions and is provided with a budget of € 500 million.

“We changed completely our consideration of the risk of flooding after Xynthia. We paid a very high price in terms of human lives to fully understand our level of exposure to the risk of floods. Three months after Xynthia, the torrential rains in the Var region and the victims they caused further reminded us how vulnerable we are to floods. The plan we are presenting today aims to protect the population and to make our environment safer. However we all will be better protected if we will never forget the Xynthia and the Var tragedies as well as the wrong land use planning decisions which caused so many deaths and damages.” Declared Mrs. Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet during the presentation of the plan.

The French National Floods Management Plan is organised along four pillars:

1. Proper urban development in high flood risk prone areas. This will be achieved through:

  • Acceleration in the preparation of risk prevention plans (PPRs) in the coastal areas. Within three years, 242 coastal cities must prepare their risk prevention plan (PPR) and 68 more must revise their plans taking into account existing risk in their land use policies;
  • Forbidding the construction of coastal dams to allow building in areas with high level of flood risk;
  • Preparation, by the end of 2011, of a Technical Reference Manual for the design and implementation of flood prevention works.
  • 2. Improve floods forecasting, monitoring and early warning systems. This will be achieved through:

  • Development by Météo France of a special forecasting service for coastal floods by the end of 2011. This service, on the basis of sea and waves forecasts, will calculate a level of warning for a specific coastal zone and show it on a map through a code of colors – green, orange, red.
  • Better territorial coverage of the network of radars for weather forecasting. The development of this component will start in 2011 and will be completed in ten years with a budget of 10,6 M€.
  • Extension of the national river monitoring system.
  • 3. Dam system renforcement. This will be mostly achieved through consolidation works on 1200 km of dams during the period 2011-2016 with an allocated budget of 500 M€. The national dam registry will be also completed in 2011. The hydraulic works safety control services were already reinforced.

    4. Development of a risk management culture at all levels. This will be mostly achieved through the mandatory inclusion of a specific risk prevention chapter in the municipal emergency plans.

    In order to ensure a consistent flood risk management policy, the Minister also presented the new national governance system for floods prevention which involves also civil society and local communities. “Collective efforts and a constant dialogue among all concerned actors – the Minister said - are a necessary pre-requisite for any effective flood prevention policy”.

    European Commission and UNDP to develop a regional Crisis Response Centre at the League of Arab States

    European Commission and UNDP to develop a regional Crisis Response Centre at the League of Arab States

    The European Commission has signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to set up a regional Crisis Response Centre and Early Warning System at the League of Arab States. The Centre aims strengthening the capacities of the Arab region in crisis prevention and response through enhanced cooperation between the Secretariat General of the League of Arab States (SGLAS), the European Commission (EC) and the UNDP.

    The Centre will be established at the Secretariat of the League of Arab States (LAS) in Cairo. The European Commission (EC) is providing Euro 1,925,190 for this initiative, which will be implemented during 2011-2012.


    Join the UNISDR campaign Making Cities Resilient: My City is getting ready!

    Join the UNISDR campaign Making Cities Resilient: My City is getting ready! To mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction on 13 October, the UNISDR secretariat is calling on its partners to play a more active role to protect cities against disasters. As part of its “Making Cities Resilient: My City is getting ready!” campaign, UNISDR encourages more mayors and local governments to join the 100 cities that have already signed up to the global campaign.

    Many cities have been disrupted this year by disasters: earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and New Zealand; floods and heavy rainfalls in Pakistan, Eastern Europe, Mozambique and other parts of Africa; forest fires in Russia; and volcanic eruptions in Indonesia and Iceland. All have caused huge human suffering and economic damage. Cities have never been so at risk.

    More action is needed to anticipate the negative impacts of such disasters; no city is immune.

    13 Mediterranean cities have already joined the campaign: Alexandria, Cairo and Sharm Al-Sheikh in Egypt; Amman in Jordan; Aleppo and Homs in Syria; Saida, Beirut, Byblos and Tripoli in Lebanon; Istanbul and Yalova in Turkey; Venice in Italy.

    Is your city GETTING ready?
    What are you doing to make cities more resilient and protect citizens?

    UNISDR, member of the PPRD South Managing Consortium”, encourages all partners, National Platforms for Disaster Reduction and cities to use the International Day for Disaster Reduction to raise awareness on how to build resilience to disasters, to publicize the "ten essentials" and how YOUR community, town, city or province is advancing in getting ready.

    Please send your plans for the International Day for Disaster Reduction to isdr-campaign@un.org. UNISDR will post your plans and experience reports on the website.


    Ideas for the International Day for Disaster Reduction:

    - Organize radio programs, press briefing or public debates on how your community/municipality/city is getting ready: Read the UN Secretary-Generals message and add a message from your Mayor or other personalities on what is being done in your community;

    - Organize a disaster drill or exercise preparedness plans in your community/ school/ municipality/ city

    - Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies might want to launch the 2010 World Disaster Report on Urban Risk in their communities that day and discuss what can be done in partnership with others

    - Launch the call for nominations for good practice and candidates for the UN-Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction, which will feature achievements in making cities resilient. The Award will be delivered in May 2011 at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva

    - Showcase to the public ("open day" or round tables) any visible activity or project undertaken by participants in the campaign (see www.unisdr.org/campaign - Section ?How to get engaged in the campaign?)

    - Promote the One Million Save Schools and Hospitals Pledging Initiative and encourage pledges. (The initiative calls for pledging of specific schools and hospitals to be safe, sign-up for individuals or groups to become advocates or champions, collects good practice and provides guidance documentation prepared by partners and /or UNISDR.)

    The attachment includes the ideas for the International Day for Disaster Reduction (see above) and a list of events UNISDR is directly involved.

    MIC activities for the Pakistan Floods

    MIC activities for the Pakistan Floods

    Current situation (31st August 2010)

    • The EUCP team, which arrived in Pakistan on 20 August, has had first coordination meetings with ECHO colleagues and OCHA UNDAC team. Meetings with UN, IFRC, logistic cluster and main NGOs are scheduled.
    • The 150 tents from AT arrived in Sukkur and were handed over to the local NDMA representative. The AT water purification tablets were also distributed in the Sukkur province.
    • The German Department of Defense will donate to Pakistan 50 Generator Sets and 3 Rubberized Collapsible Water Tanks. They are expected to arrive in Pakistan on 25 August via NATO.
    • Sweden is mobilising Water and purification Relief teams consisting of 10 small water purification units, 2 water treatment plants and a technical staff.
    • North of Pakistan is the most affected area; new floods are largely involving also central and southern provinces.
    • The latest figures show 1.491 dead people and 15,402,090 affected.
    • Priority need is for food, shelter, health and wash.
    • The financial assistance from the Commission and the EU member States reached more than 200 million EUR.

    Latest DG ECHO Situation Report (SitRep)

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