The European Union (EU) has mechanisms in place to support countries when an environmental emergency strikes and it deploys experts to assist the local community. These experts may find themselves in a chaotic situation, in which local and national authorities are overwhelmed. Collating the necessary evidence from scattered sources to conduct a robust risk assessment is a major challenge and deployed experts may not have access to the necessary technical expertise.
Therefore, the European Multiple Environmental Threats Emergency Network (EMETNET) project is building a simple, efficient and robust methodology to enable the rapid risk assessment (RRA) of environmental emergencies. The RRA, which will be delivered to the European Commission (EC), presents an overview of potential and actual health and environmental impacts of the event. A network of risk assessors is being built to carry out this RRA and provide back-office support to deployed experts, enabling them to have rapid access to information and expertise. EMETNET builds on existing methodologies for the RRA of environmental emergencies, in particular, on a methodology developed for serious cross-border chemical health threats.
The EMETNET methodology will support the selection of experts and assets deployed to affected regions and provide a snapshot assessment to experts en route to disaster zones. It will aid defensible decision-making, communication, planning and risk management. Furthermore, it will ensure a harmonised understanding of the associated health, environmental and cross-sectoral impacts of an environmental emergency.
DG ECHO, Environmental emergencies, Expert network, Impact, Natural disasters, Public health, Environment, Rapid risk assessment, Union Civil Protection Mechanism, UCPM
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