The Met Office is sharing its knowledge and expertise in Japan this week at the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) aims to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards such as flooding, droughts, earthquakes and cyclones. Effective weather and climate services, like we have in the UK, play an essential role in ensuring that a nation is prepared for weather related natural hazards and help to reduce risk to life and property.
We are an integral part of UK Government and play a key role in the UK’s DRR planning, preparedness, response and recovery. Our accurate and timely weather forecasts, severe weather warnings and climate information mean authorities, businesses, civil contingency community and the public can take action ahead of severe weather. This helps to protect life and property and critical national infrastructure from the impacts of weather related natural hazards.
But the Met Office does not only work in the UK, we also work closely with a number of national meteorological and hydrological services (NMHSs) around the world, supporting them to develop their weather and climate services. If governments and communities are better informed they can take steps to prepare for the impacts.
We supported the Philippines National Met Service – the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA) – in improving their weather information services following Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 people, in November 2014. In contrast more than a million people were evacuated ahead of Typhoon Hagupit, just one year later. Whilst sadly 30 people still died, many lives were undoubtedly saved as a result of improved forecasts, communication and DRR initiatives. This has transformed how the Philippines react to disasters.
Finally, as the UK’s national weather service we understand the importance of a nation having a single responsible voice for DRR, as it helps to ensure that early warning systems are trusted, listened to and acted upon by the public. With this in mind, we are well placed to support other NMHSs role in disaster risk reduction in their own countries.