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Global Survey of Early Warning Systems - An assessment of capacities, gaps and opportunities towards building a comprehensive global early warning system for all natural hazards

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If an effective tsunami early warning system had been in place in the Indian Ocean region on 26 December 2004, thousands of lives would have been saved. The same stark lesson can be drawn from other disasters that have killed tens of thousands of people in the past few years. Effective early warning systems not only save lives but also help protect livelihoods and national development gains. Over the last thirty years, deaths from disasters have been declining , in part thanks to the role of early warning systems and associated preparedness and response systems.

With a view to establish a "worldwide early warning system for all natural hazards building on existing national and regional capacity", United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Kofi Annan requested in March 2005 that a global survey of capacities and gaps for early warning systems be undertaken.

The present report synthesises the findings of this survey, which was carried out by the ISDR secretariat in collaboration with a multi-party working group established at the 11th session of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction (IATF/DR) in May 2005.