04. 05. 2017
EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS IN LISBON CITY: HOW TO PREVENT AND PREPARE
BY Maria Telhado and Marco Morais, Lisbon City Council - Municipal Civil Protection Service
The uncertainty of disaster risk makes the modern society more vulnerable. Lisbon city is not an exception. Recent local synoptic severe weather events, occurred in 2010, 2014 and 2016, involving windstorms, storm surges and flash floods. These events illustrate the impacts occurred all over the city and also shows the interdependencies between the financial, social, political, environmental, technological and heritage sectors.
Complex combinations of physical and socio-urban vulnerabilities resulting in 100% of the urban soil without natural water lines, which are daily crossed by one million citizens. This explains the vast impacts of the events of urban floods and storms that affected the functioning of the city and still challenge decision-makers and experts to prioritize strategies that contribute to a SAFER CITY, MORE RESILIENT, A BETTER CITY.
Following the priorities of the Hyogo Action Framework and the appeal of the UNISDR, Lisbon joined the campaign “MAKING CITIES RESILIENT” in 2010. Since then and according to the 4 priorities of the Sendai Action Framework (2010-2015), evaluating the present and predicting the future, the municipality work has been centralized in increasing the awareness, engaging, sharing best practices with the community. In this framework, it is worth mentioning the following initiatives:
- studies with the scientific community to identify/assess risk scenarios;
- participation on projects, conferences and other events (international, national and local level);
- technical advice included on emergency plans and territorial management,
- risk maps;
- daily forecast monitoring of the weather conditions and dissemination of warnings and alerts to the population;
- information and awareness actions about self-protection measures and behaviour to adopt, which cover approximately 60,000 individuals annually;
- participation in exercises and tests;
- training of civil protection volunteers.
To minimize potential emergency situations, depending on the building type and their risk category, numerous contributions have been given to business continuity plans, self-protection measures and other tools.
By strengthening and sharing the teamwork by assessing the existing interdependencies between key sectors that are functioning in the city and also investing in preparedness of the community, it has been possible to prepare, respond and overcome several disruption situations that affected Lisbon in recent years.
Following the guidelines of the RESCCUE Project it has been possible to, step by step, increase Lisbon’s urban resilience, anticipating solutions to potential shocks and stresses that urban space presents. KNOWING HOW TO REACT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE.