Communicating Flood Early Warning for Last Mile Connectivity


Early warning systems are critical in providing timely information to communities and limiting the adverse impacts of floods. To address the need for enhanced regional collaboration in flood risk reduction, the Hydrological Cycle Observation System (HYCOS) initiative of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has established a Regional Flood Information System (RFIS) in partnership with four of ICIMOD’s regional member countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan. The RFIS is being implemented with India and China as observers and with the World Meteorological Organization as a technical partner. 

Building on the achievements of HYCOS’ earlier phase, the HYCOS User Phase seeks to enhance end user interface with particular emphasis on enabling gender integration in flood early warning systems, thereby reducing vulnerabilities of particular segments of affected communities. It seeks to assess communication pathways and dissemination gaps in flood early warning systems in the HKH region by developing and assessing case studies of good practices for better end user connectivity. 

This HYCOS User Phase also focusses on enhancing community responses to warning information through improved understanding of institutional mechanisms for communicating and disseminating early warning from the national to the local level. It also stresses capacity building and awareness of the end users themselves so that they are better prepared to take timely action to reduce losses. This is in response to preliminary findings from the strategic assessment of flood early warning systems in Nepal, which suggests that social and cultural aspects are important in transforming flood early warnings into understandable messages that allow vulnerable groups to take appropriate and timely action. This is challenging as such systems need to be designed to meet the needs of rural women who are illiterate and speak only their mother tongue, which is often not the same language used at the forecast centres. 


The regional workshop will bring together some 30 stakeholders representing hydromet agencies, disaster management authorities, and practitioners working in water-induced disaster risk reduction in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan to:

  • Share good practices on communicating flood early warning to the most neglected segments of vulnerable communities, particularly, girls, women, the poor, differently abled, and the elderly; 
  • share advances in and good  practices on risk monitoring, flood forecasting, and communicating flood early warning;
  • brainstorm ideas for improving flood-related disaster preparedness and response and enhancing regional collaboration;
  • share and discuss the findings of the strategic assessment of flood early warning systems in Nepal