Climate, weather and water hazards do not recognize national boundaries. Transboundary/regional programs and cooperation are essential to reduce the loss of lives and damage to livelihoods when facing these hazards. The development and implementation of systems to provide early warnings for severe weather events such as cyclones and flash floods requires data and information sharing in real time, and coordination among the government agencies at all levels. Within a country, this includes local, municipal, provincial-to-national levels as well as regional and international entities involved in hydrometeorological services and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Of key importance are the National Meteorological and Hydrologic Services (NMHSs). The NMHS is generally the authority solely responsible for issuing warnings for these hazards. However, in many regions of the world, the linkages and interfaces between the NMHS and other agencies are weak or non-existent. Therefore, there is a critical need to assess, strengthen, and formalize collaborations when addressing the concept of reducing risk and impacts from severe weather and floods. The U.S. Agency for International Development/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance; the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO); the WMO Southern Africa Regional Specialized Meteorological Center, hosted by the South African Weather Service; the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service and the Hydrologic Research Center (a non-profit corporation) are currently implementing a project working with Southern Africa NMHSs on addressing this gap. The project aims to strengthen coordination and collaboration mechanisms from national to local levels. The project partners are working with the NMHSs to apply and implement appropriate tools and infrastructure to enhance currently operational severe weather and flash flood early warning systems in each country in support of delivery and communication of warnings for the DRR entities at the regional, national and local levels in order to reduce the loss of life and property.
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