IGAD is launching a new system called East Africa Hazards Watch to track extreme events such as drought, cyclones, pests (desert locust), heavy rainfall, floods or crop failures, which are increasing in frequency and intensity due to climate change. The system was developed by a team of Programmers, Climate Scientists, Earth Observation and Systems specialists, as well as Marketing, Design Thinking and sectoral experts to meet the growing need of Risk Information due to increasing climate extremes.
Watch how it works here (1 minute introduction video):
About 90% of the disasters in East Africa are due to weather and climate hazards, leaving the region to be one of the most vulnerable to extreme events. Considering the high dependency of the economic systems in the region on natural resources, the impacts of weather and climate extremes have far-reaching socioeconomic consequences. To protect the population against these hazards and to support the resilience of the local communities, there is a dire need for efficient early warning systems and actionable information for decision making. The East Africa Hazards Watch was developed to fill this gap.
This public regional multi-hazards watch system aims at providing decision ready information to support transnational coordination and early action across borders. Automated email and mobile phone notification Alerts and AI based advisories are next on the development pipeline.
The system allows us to track the warming of East African cities. The Climate Stripes, which has been trending on social media under the hashtag #showyourstripes, visualises the warming of the main cities, which have already warmed by over 2 degrees since pre-industrial times. Additional climate change layers are being currently integrated to allow citizens understand how temperatures and rainfall have been changing in the last century. Furthermore, ICPAC’s Desert Locust projections allow identifying areas at risk of desert locust.
Agricultural warnings, making use of Satellite observation and ground data allow identifying areas of the region at risk of crop failures.
The system allows overlapping alerts and warnings with socio-economic information to understand the vulnerability of the population at risk. Additional layers of information on vulnerability and exposure are currently being added to the platform.
Being the first public African system of its kind, the platform is continuously iterated based on User feedback. It was developed in Africa for Africa and is built on Open Source platforms to ensure sustainability and continued customization. The system supports integrating multiple Data sources to provide a seamless user experience in finding risk information for the region.
CONFER is supporting the improvement of data visualisation, the improvement of risk information contained in the system. CONFER is working to improve the seasonal forecast, the crop modelling and the flood forecast. Through the support to the existing systems to disseminate climate information, like the East Africa Hazards Watch, CONFER is determined to improve the resilience of the people of Eastern Africa.
For a more detailed description and demonstration of the system, click here: