15 March 2016

Climate change and extreme weather events: is Europe ready?

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The damage and threats caused by extreme weather events have become more varied in different regions across Europe and worldwide in recent years. 

In 2005 the centre of the Finnish capital Helsinki was nearly flooded because of the raising of the sea level. After that event, the municipality has been building special pedestrian ways, which are about 1.2 meters above ground level. Today, Finnish firemen are using new generation vehicles, that are equipped with a saw and special hooks to safely grasp and cut fallen trees, and remove them very quickly from roads after heavy storms. 

It is becoming increasingly important to provide infrastructure to protect against extreme weather conditions: the RAIN project, which is aimed at developing systematic risk management when dealing with the impact of extreme weather conditions on critical infrastructure, helps to develop a series of mitigation tools to enhance the security of the pan-European infrastructure networks. 

From 1970 to 2012, almost 9 000 disasters, 2 million deaths, and important economic losses were reported globally as a result of hazards such as floods, tropical cyclones and snowstorms.

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