Floods, drought, wildfires and low-flow events, as well as water scarcity situations and extreme storms, are likely to become more intense, longer and more frequent for the next period due to climate change. In recent years, most notably in 2002, 2006, 2013 and in the summer of 2014, parts of the Danube River Basin District were being affected by very strong or extreme flooding events. These events caused significant human and economic damages in the affected countries and communities. In 2006, 4 casualties were reported in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and the costs and damages amounted to almost 600 million Euro in the whole basin. In 2010, there were 35 casualties, and damages of around 2 billion Euro occurred, a figure which was even surpassed in 2013 (2.3 billion Euro damages, mostly in Germany and Austria; additionally, 9 casualties were also reported from Austria and Romania). And, most recently, the Sava River Basin in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Serbia was hit very hard in May 2014, effecting 2.6 million people, killing 79, and causing almost 4 billion Euros damage in the three countries.
There were significant damages caused by seasonal fires during the dry season, also the extreme weather conditions are causing hailstorms, damaging houses and triggering flash floods in mountainous regions.
Industrial accidents were also evident in the region, often the risk spots are connected to tailing management facilities and other industrial factories located close to the Danube or to the tributary of the river.
Extending the cooperation and joint efforts of the countries in the Danube Region presents an opportunity for reaching a common understanding and developing standards regarding the management of environmental risks. Developing recommendations for the involvement civil protection organizations and fire and rescue services involved in disaster management would encourage standardized response activities. Disaster Management Working Group (DM WG) is established to concentrate on emergency response and preparedness elements of managing environmental risks which are in the scope of EUSDR PA5.
In order to achieve the objectives, DM WG aims to
- provide a platform for cooperation between relevant stakeholders of the 14 Danube countries in the field of disaster management;
- cooperate with International Commission for the Protection of Danube River in all activities concerning water management to achieve good synergy and to contribute to their work with disaster response viewpoint;
- support the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (DG ECHO) in cross-border and regional level disaster management with the involvement of authorities and (volunteer) non-governmental organizations;
- trigger discussions and activities concerning disaster preparedness and response elements in the management of environmental risks;
- work on the development of recommendations for volunteer organizations involved in disaster response in the Region;
- support this initiative at policy level by developing “Minimum standards for civil protection organizations and fire and rescue services involved in international or cross-border disaster response in the Danube Region”;
- identify existing practices and procedures to minimize duplications;
- organize and finance DM WG meeting minimum once per year.
The list of the DM WG members is available here.