The ECOWAS Commission in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC), African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD), Intergovernmental Authority on Development-Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (IGAD-ICPAC), United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), International Center for Environmental Monitoring (CIMA Research Foundation), Italy and the Government of Italy has inaugurated the Multi-Hazard Early Warming Systems (WHEWS) for Disaster Risk Reduction. in Abuja, Nigeria on June 15th, 2023.
The Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems will support ECOWAS in accessing, exchanging, monitoring, and analyzing disaster risk reduction data and information across the region. MHEWS, a vital component of disaster risk reduction, strives to avoid loss of life and lessen the effect of natural hazardous occurrences, such as catastrophes that occur concurrently, cascadingly or cumulatively over time. Dissemination and communication of warning alerts about impending hazards are critical to enabling proper preparedness and response by organizations, communities at risk and the public.
In her welcome address, the Commissioner, Human Development and Social Affairs, ECOWAS Commission, Prof. Fatou Sow Sarr, said the increasing frequency and unpredictability of environmental disasters constitute a substantial obstacle on the path of sustainable development as more than 75 million people in the region are grappling with severe food insecurity. Professor Sow Sarr noted that a new approach to address these disasters calls for sound risk management underpinned by preparedness, mitigation, and reduction measures. She thanked the Government of Italy and other partners for their support in establishing the ECOWAS Disaster Operations Centre which will go a long way in supporting the region.
Other dignitaries that delivered goodwill messages at the inauguration include H. E. Stefano De Leo, the Italian Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E Madam Mami Mizutori, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and Prof. Luca Ferraris of CIMA Research Foundation, Italy.