UN recognises French flood control efforts
07 June 2016, GENEVA - The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Robert Glasser, today praised the French authorities for the country’s disaster preparedness and on-going response efforts in the face of the flood threat in Paris and other parts of the country.
Mr. Glasser, who heads the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, said: “There are lessons to be learned but France’s management of this flood threat has been exemplary and includes the 11-day EU Sequana 2016 exercise in March which prepared for just such an eventuality and mobilised all key institutions and stakeholders in a text book display of how to strengthen resilience across institutions while raising public awareness.
“Floods already affect more people than any other natural hazard so addressing the threat is basic to reducing the humanitarian burden from disasters. Flooding across Europe and other parts of the world is set to increase with climate change and increasing weather variability. Over the last week or more, France has given us a clear demonstration of what a whole-of-society approach to disaster risk reduction means in reality.
“The exercise also highlights the limits of disaster risk management in the built environment as early estimates are that insurance losses will be in the region of 600 million Euros. There is no doubt that the prevention and mitigation measures taken, stopped this from escalating. One notes the remarkable effort to protect world heritages sites such as the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay and the priceless cultural artefacts they contain.”