Indonesia rolls out JRC-designed system to enhance Tsunami Early Warning

Indonesia has announced plans to roll out a tsunami early warning system based on the Inexpensive Device for Sea Level Monitoring (IDSL).

The system was developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre with support from the Commission’s department for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO).

The new plan for IDSL installation foresees the acquisition of 100 new units before the end of 2020 and a more ambitious implementation of an additional 530 units over the coming years, for fisheries, ports and conservation areas across Indonesia.

The IDSL is already installed in 7 locations in Indonesia (Sebesi Island, Marina Jambu, Pandangaran, Sadeng Port and Pelabuhan Ratu on Java Island and Bungus Port on Sumatra Island). It is also being installed in Mentawai Island.

The initiative is part of a collaboration between the JRC, DG ECHO and the Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries, initiated in 2019 when the JRC provided Indonesia with 8 IDSL devices to quickly implement a new Tsunami Warning System in the aftermath of the Anuk Krakatau volcano explosion on 22 Dec 2018. The event triggered a severe Tsunami, killing more than 400 people in the Sunda Strait.

The JRC began developing the IDSL in 2014. It has been installed in 35 locations in the Mediterranean Sea to enhance the monitoring capability of the Tsunami Warning Centres, in collaboration with local institutions and the UNESCO International Oceanographic Commission.

The characteristics of this innovative device are:

its low cost (2.5 k Euro vs 25-30 k Euro of similar devices);
the quick response and transmission (latency less than 5s from measurement to data publication);
the easy installation (less than 2h);
the presence of a software onboard able to detect Tsunami waves or other large sea level variations and send email and SMS to a prescribed list of recipients.
The name of IDSL has been modified to ‘PUMMA’ in the Indonesian language, or Perangkat Ukur Murah untuk Muka Air (Low cost Device for Sea Level Measurement).

It has the same meaning but is easier for Indonesians to recognise and understand its functioning.

Announcing the plans, Indonesian Maritime and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo referred to the geographical position of Indonesia and indicated: “This situation prompts the Indonesian government to formulate a practical tsunami mitigation regime because a large number of coastal communities and villages could be left vulnerable and devastated when a tsunami strikes. In addition, vast coastlines and a large number of coastal communities means that Indonesia needs tsunami early warning systems to be installed in many tsunami prone areas. In this situation, the government needs to develop a tsunami mitigation program that includes the participation of the communities to develop their preparedness and make them more resilient to tsunami."

The new devices will be built with the collaboration of the European Commission and the involvement of local small scale companies and universities.

They will be integrated with the overall monitoring network in Indonesia provided by BIG (Sea Level Monitoring Institution) and BMKG (Tsunami Service Provider).

The IDSL (or PUMMA) will be implemented not only for tsunami early warning, but also for monitoring of fisheries port activities, marine tourisms, marine ecosystem and sea level rise.

Climate change-fueled weather disasters: Costs to state and local economies

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that between 2005 and 2019, the federal government, including FEMA and other agencies, has spent at least $450 billion on weather disaster assistance, an average of $30 billion per year (GAO 2019). It is easy to imagine that, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, a similar level of aid may not be available for weather disaster assistance.

The report draws on a growing body of climate science research that connects climate change to worsening weather disasters; shifting climate conditions in response to greenhouse gas emissions have been linked to fiercer storms, heatwaves, droughts, and wildfires.

To gain insight into the price Americans are paying for worsening weather disasters, it summarizes data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters database and other public sources.

NOAA has tracked the costs of the most extreme weather events in the United States since 1980, estimating the total direct cost of each event that caused $1 billion or more in damage (adjusting all costs to 2019 dollars). No state is untouched by these billion-dollar disasters.

The analysis includes projections of future increases in the intensity and frequency of weather disasters—should governments, corporations, and citizens fail to take action to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Cities, states, and regions also need to work together to build resilience to future weather disasters.

Download report at Environmental Defense Fund

Source - Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

Policy brief: technologies for averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage in coastal zones

Coastal zones are home to about 40 per cent of the world’s population, living within 100 km of the coastline.

The most recent technology needs assessment indicates that one-third of developing countries placed infrastructure, including in coastal zones, as a prioritized sector, and most of the prioritized technologies in this regard were related to coastal protection, including both hard and soft measures.

Today more than 600 million people live in coastal zones that are less than 10 meters above sea level, and approximately 60 per cent of the world’s metropolises whose populations exceed 5 million people are located within 100 kilometers of a coastline. Coastal zones are a critical component of national economies, including shipping, aquaculture, tourism and other coastal services and industries.

Furthermore, entire economic activities in those of small islands developing states and low-lying delta countries, belong to their coasts. And yet coastal areas stand at risk from rising sea level and extreme weather intensity caused by climate change.

Recently as evidenced in many coastal areas, the impacts of these climate change phenomena, including the losses and damages, are increasingly becoming disruptive.

The report aims to inform policy-makers and practitioners on technological solutions to assess and manage climate-related risks comprehensively in coastal zones. It also identifies recovery and rehabilitation measures to address the impacts from tropical cyclones, storm surges, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other climate-change-related impacts.

Download Report from UNFCCC

Source - United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Record floods threaten nuclear power site in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has experienced intense flooding covering at least a quarter of the country as it goes through monsoon season. NASA has released a map showing the extent of this year’s flooding from June to the end of July along the Jamuna River, where high danger levels have been reached or surpassed. Reported at the end of July, more than 4.7 million people have been affected and more than half of Bangladesh’s districts are flooded.

One of the areas affected is the Pabna district, home to the construction site of Bangladesh’s two nuclear power reactors at the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.

In 2017, Bangladesh, with help from Russia, began building a nuclear power plant near the Padma River. Upon its planned completion in 2024, the two-unit nuclear power plant is intended to help meet growing energy demands and improve grid reliability. A 2011 agreement was made with Rosatom, a Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation, to facilitate the build of two nuclear reactors and establish a legal basis for nuclear cooperation between the two countries. Through this agreement, Rosatom is charged with building and operating all aspects of the nuclear reactor until the first completed year of operation. The deal included a $500 million loan from Russia to finance engineers and project development, the management of spent nuclear fuel, and nuclear technology exchanges between the two countries.

As Russia pushes forward with construction of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Bangladesh faces major climate change risks from record heavy precipitation, sea-level rise, and climate-induced migration. After two months of rain, the Padma River beside the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant has almost doubled in size. Torrential rains and subsequent river erosion have flooded crops, villages, and critical infrastructure. The districts surrounding the nuclear plant are among some of the most affected in Bangladesh this season.

The site for the plant was selected almost 60 years ago in 1963, during a time when climate change did not factor into such decisions. Despite rising threats to the site from climate change, as well as dire projections for the future, plant construction began anyway in 2017. While a passive core flooding system was built to help avoid a catastrophe if an accident affects the reactor cores, increased climate variability and intensification pose a clear threat to the plant. Scientists tracking the intensity of extreme weather events in Bangladesh have stated that river flooding has become more severe and frequent with this monsoon season, possibly the longest lasting since 1988. Resting only 5,000 feet from the Padma river and below the Ganges delta, the plant is at constant risk.

Bangladesh will have to adapt to its changing climate and ensure that the utmost level of protection and precaution is taken to maintain Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant and the surrounding population’s safety. As climate change intensifies, the threat of severe damage to the nuclear power plant increases that could devastate millions.

Source - Center for Climate & Security

FEMA Awards $17.8 Million for Hurricane Irma Recovery in Florida

EMA has awarded grants totaling $17,820,727 for the State of Florida to reimburse applicants for eligible costs of emergency response and repairs to public facilities following Hurricane Irma.

FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants to state, tribal, and local governments, and certain types of private nonprofit organizations, including some houses of worship, so that communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies. The Florida Division of Emergency Management works with FEMA during all phases of the program and conducts final reviews of FEMA-approved projects.

The federal share for projects is not less than 75 percent of the eligible cost. The state determines how the nonfederal share of the cost of a project (up to 25 percent) is split with the subrecipients like local and county governments.

Australian Government launch consultation on protection of critical infrastructures

The Australian Government is committed to protecting the essential services all Australians rely on by uplifting the security and resilience of critical infrastructure.

The Government’s commitment to the continued prosperity of its economy and businesses is unwavering. The impacts of recent events only reinforce the need for collaboration between and across critical infrastructure sectors and Government to protect our economy, security and sovereignty.

At the same time, Government recognises the additional economic challenges facing many sectors and entities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcome it seek is clear - they want to work in partnership to develop proportionate requirements that strike a balance between uplifting security, and ensuring businesses remain viable and services remain sustainable, accessible and affordable. An uplift in security and resilience across critical infrastructure sectors will mean that all businesses will benefit from strengthened protections to the networks, systems and services we all depend on.

An enhanced critical infrastructure framework

The primary objective of the proposed enhanced framework is to protect Australia’s critical infrastructure from all hazards, including the dynamic and potentially catastrophic cascading threats enabled by cyber attacks.

The enhanced framework outlines a need for an uplift in security and resilience in all critical infrastructure sectors, combined with better identification and sharing of threats in order to make Australia’s critical infrastructure – whether industry or government owned and operated – more resilient and secure. This approach will prioritise acting ahead of an incident wherever possible.

Government has agreed that the proposed enhanced framework will apply to an expanded set of critical infrastructure sectors, comprising of three key elements:

  1. Positive Security Obligation, including:
    a. set and enforced baseline protections against all hazards for critical infrastructure and systems, implemented through sector-specific standards proportionate to risk.
  2. Enhanced cyber security obligations that establish:
    a. the ability for Government to request information to contribute to a near real-time national threat picture;
    b. owner and operator participation in preparatory activities with Government; and
    c. the co-development of a scenario based ‘playbook’ that sets out response arrangements.
  3. Government assistance for entities that are the target or victim of a cyber attack, through the establishment of a Government capability and authorities to disrupt and respond to threats in an emergency.

These three initiatives will be underpinned by an enhanced Government-industry partnership across all hazards.

The Government intends to consult with stakeholders during and after receiving submissions. This will also allow us to assess the impact of proposed reforms and refine the development of the enhanced framework.

Further details can be viewed at

EU Funds EUR 13 Million Natural Disasters Project Linking IOM, Oxfam in Burundi

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Oxfam have joined forces to launch an EU backed multi-million Euro Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project that will help hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other communities in Burundi.

Every year tens of thousands of people are displaced by natural disasters and climatic events, ranging from earthquakes, flooding, landslides, hail, and heavy and torrential rains that claim many lives and destroy thousands of homes. Over 112,000 people in Burundi are currently displaced due to such weather disasters.

This has negatively impacted Burundi’s efforts to reduce poverty, fight climate change, and build sustainable cities, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The EUR 13 million, 3-year project—funded through “TUBEHONEZA,” the “Rural Development” component of the European Union’s Resilience Programme—includes nationwide risk mapping, building the capacity of the Government of Burundi to coordinate DRR initiatives and leading community-based DRR interventions.

IOM will focus on Burundi’s 18 provinces and 119 communes, while Oxfam will target 11 provinces and 22 communes. Though the scope of each organization’s work is slightly different, actions will be synergized and coordinated to complement each other, avoiding duplication and ensuring a joint approach throughout the country.

The project will be implemented in co-ordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Community Development and Public Security, particularly including the National Platform for Risk Prevention and Disaster Management of Burundi.

“Local communities suffer not only from the direct consequences of the events, such as through destruction of shelter, agricultural fields and displacement, but are also exposed to significant direct and indirect public health risks created by the disasters,” said AJ Morgen, IOM Burundi Chief of Mission. “Supporting DRR efforts in Burundi, therefore, is not only important but essential for reducing displacement and improving the conditions needed for long-term, sustainable development.”

The initial stage of the project entails a country-wide, multi-hazard assessment and risk mapping at the national level, to be scientifically tailored to meet five primary hazards: torrential rains, strong winds, flooding, landsides, and earthquakes. The data collected during the risk assessment will produce risk assessment maps for each of the five hazards.

The second stage will utilize the risk maps to update or elaborate contingency plans in all 18 provinces of Burundi. Combined with institutional capacity building of the country’s Disaster Risk Management (DRM) platforms, this will enable communities, local authorities, humanitarian and development organizations to better prepare for, and respond to, those risks.

The final component of the project will engage communities most at-risk of disasters to implement disaster prevention and mitigation activities.

The projects also include emergency response funding to enable IOM and Oxfam to provide emergency non-food items and/or shelter support if a significant disaster occurs during the project’s lifetime.

“Climate change is severely affecting the Burundian population and will increase the frequency and magnitude of natural disasters in the future. The EU has reacted and is now supporting efforts to prevent these disasters. The EU will remain alongside the Burundian people and will draw on the experience of IOM and Oxfam in dealing with these risks,” explained H.E Claude Bochu, Ambassador of the European Union to Burundi.