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Flood Early Warning Systems installed in Zambia

Project harnesses the power of ICTs to reduce the vulnerability of communities and save lives

Geneva, 22 December 2017

ITU and the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority, ZICTA, have jointly installed and commissioned Flood Early Warning Systems (EWS) in two areas of southern Zambia which are highly prone to flooding.

The EWS systems have been installed in Kasaya village, which is located the Kazungula District of Zambia’s Southern Province and on Mbeta Island in the Western Province of Zambia. The two areas often experience loss of lives and property as a result of flood waters from the Zambezi River.

The flooding warning system is activated when water on the Zambezi River reach a given threshold to warn residents of impending floods. The system also broadcasts several messages in the local language guiding residents to evacuate to safer places.

"Early Warning and Alerting Systems are critical components of emergency telecommunications to reduce the vulnerability of communities at risk and save lives,” says Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau. “This project reinforces ITU’s commitment to exploring innovative and collaborative ways to harness the full potential of ICTs for both development and disaster management with a view to attaining sustainable development.”

The early warning system also has the capacity to provide humanitarian workers in the affected areas with a reliable communication system to assist in the coordination of relief efforts during and after the disaster.

“The installation of the Early Warning System will minimize the endemic loss of life and property, providing relief for people in Kasaya and Mbeta Island that have for many years have been ravaged by persistent flooding,” says Patrick Mutimushi, Director General of the Zambia Information & Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA).

ITU supports countries in disaster risk reduction, response and recovery, through the design of national emergency telecommunication plans to the setting up of early warning and monitoring systems to the provision of emergency telecommunications equipment.