Early Warning Principles and Systems

Authored by: Juan Carlos Villagrán de León

The Routledge Handbook of Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415590655
eBook ISBN: 9780203844236
Adobe ISBN: 9781136918698


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In generic terms, early warning constitutes a process whereby information concerning a potential disaster is provided to people at risk and to institutions so that tasks may be executed prior to its manifestation to minimise its detrimental impacts, such as fatalities, injuries, damage and interruptions of normal activities. Early warning systems (EWS) have been designed and implemented to target sudden-onset hazards such as floods, landslides, tornadoes, tsunamis and earthquakes; for slow-onset hazards such as drought; and for hazards that can appear at a variety of time scales such as extreme temperatures, volcanic eruptions and epidemics/pandemics. In addition, warning systems have targeted complex issues beyond hazards such as famine and food insecurity.

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