New Report Recommends Ways to Strengthen Tunisia Disaster Preparedness
TUNIS, May 19, 2022 – A new report launched today by the World Bank, the Government of Tunisia, and the Global Fund for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery examines ways to improve the capabilities of Tunisia’s National Meteorological and Hydrological Services with the aim of supporting socio-economic development to save lives and livelihoods.
Tunisia is highly prone to climate-related disasters, such as floods, droughts, extreme temperatures, and sea level rise. The latest World Bank’s disaster risk profile of the country estimates that floods alone cause an average annual loss of US$40 million (or 0.1% of Tunisia’s 2018 GDP). Underlying factors, including climate change, population growth, land use changes, and urbanization, increase the severity and frequency of these events.
The report, Strengthening Hydromet and Early Warning Systems and Services in Tunisia—A Roadmap, proposes three successive development phases designed to transform meteorological and hydrological service providers in Tunisia into technically sound and modern entities that can meet their public service mandates. It shows that the benefits of weather, climate, and hydrological (hydromet) services outweigh the capital and operational costs of providing them.
Every US$1 invested in hydromet services and early warning systems, for example, results in at least US$5.5 in socioeconomic benefits. To make the best use of these investments, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services should be modernized to reach end users with practical and accessible products.
“Effective hydrometeorological and early warning services will provide vital information to protect people’s lives before disaster strikes in Tunisia and promote more equitable economic growth across a wide range of sectors,” said Alexandre Arrobbio, World Bank Country Manager for Tunisia. “This new roadmap reaffirms the World Bank’s commitment to supporting the Tunisian government’s strategy to strengthen the country’s resilience to climate hazards.”
Information from the report was used in the preparation of Pillar 2 (Disaster Preparedness) of the Tunisia Integrated Disaster Resilience Program, the first ever World Bank Program-For-Results project that addresses hydromet services and the Early Warning Systems used to alert populations to impending natural disaster. The program was signed in December 2021.
The Disaster Preparedness component of the program is designed to bolster community resilience to climate extremes, largely by improving the capacities of Tunisia’s National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and its Dams and Hydraulic Works Department. Their systems will be revamped so they can deliver more accurate, reliable, and timely weather forecasts and other related services.