Every year the world is hit by numerous natural and man-made disasters, such as the recent severe earthquake in Italy and flash floods in Macedonia. In 2015, there were a record 198 natural catastrophes. As a consequence, many lives are lost, the environment is badly damaged and infrastructure and livelihoods are severely disrupted.
The European Union has mechanisms in place to support countries when an environmental emergency strikes by deploying experts and other assets to assist the local community. These experts may find themselves in a chaotic situation, in which local and national authorities are overwhelmed.
Capabilities within Europe to rapidly assess natural and man-made disaster risks and their impacts differ across individual EU Member States. It is vital, that in the event of a serious cross border health threat, EU member states can present a co-ordinated and harmonious approach to risk management and reduction.
Therefore, the EMETNET project is building a simple, efficient and robust methodology to enable the rapid risk assessment (RRA) of environmental emergencies. The RRA presents an overview of potential and actual health and environmental impacts of the event which can aid the European Commission in the appropriate selection of deployable experts and assets. 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.