PRO NEWS Programme for Improving the National Early Warning System and Flood Prevention in Albania

PRO NEWS Programme for Improving the National Early Warning System and Flood Prevention in Albania

Source of funding

European Commission

Name of client/donor

EC Delegation Albania

Overall project value

EUR 150,960

Date

January 2017 – November 2018

Beneficiary countries

Albania

Number of staff

5

In Albania, rivers present the biggest flood risk, and the impacts of flooding currently affect 130,000 hectares of agricultural land. Floods are generally of pluvial origin and occur between November and March, when the country receives 80 to 85 percent of its annual precipitation. Due to the country’s topographical patterns, floods occur suddenly, passing through the main river hydrographical network in about eight to ten hours. The largest floods occur in the low-lying areas in the west of the country, where the rivers empty into the sea, although small rivers and torrents also cause flooding.

Flooding is exacerbated by sedimentation in rivers and drainage channels. According to the Disaster Inventory System (DesInventar), which contains information on almost 4,000 events between 1851 and 2013 in Albania, more than 95 percent of communes have been affected by at least one flood event.

Albania experienced major floods in 1962/3, 1970/1, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2013, February 2015 and early January 2016. Floods and flash floods account for 20 percent of the total events. Districts with the most floods and flash floods are Shkoder (160 events) and Lezhe (117 events) in northwest Albania. The most affected municipalities are Ana e Malit-Shkoder district (22 events), Velipoje-Shkoder district and Balldren i Ri-Lezhe district (18 events).

Floods and flash floods have the greatest impact in the agricultural sector, damaging on average 7,000 hectares of land each year. Around 300 hectares on average are damaged by each flood event, with a maximum of 20,000 hectares for a single commune in a single event. Economic losses due to flooding in the last 33 years are estimated at USD 2.3 billion.

The overall objective of PRO NEWS is to ensure increased resilience to floods by strengthening Albania's national early warning system and improving disaster prevention in line with EU good practices.

Specific goals are to:

  • further increase the capacities of the Albanian General Directorate for Civil Emergencies in terms of disaster management;
  • ensure the active participation of local stakeholders at all levels;
  • ensure the use of existing resources, capacities and networks developed in the field of early warning, flood management and civil protection;
  • ensure the use of existing early warning capacities (from forecasting to planning and flood management) as well as inter-institutional communication and cooperation for disaster risk management; and
  • promote the use of best practices in the field of flood risk management at national, regional and EU level.

Six interrelated components are being implemented to achieve the project objectives:

  • Support for legal and institutional development to improve the early warning system, flood management and civil protection by assessing the current institutional and legal framework and strengthening the capacity of national and local authorities to develop civil protection emergency plans using participatory approaches.
  • Support to the development of a flood hazard map following the EU Floods Directive through training and technical assistance for the preparation and use of detailed flood hazard maps.
  • The development of a national flood forecasting and warning system and its integration into te European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) by developing an operational hydrological model for the entire country, including transnational river basins, for early warning; modernising the meteorological infrastructure; and improving the IT network.
  • The design of a national public awareness campaign based on EU national civil protection good practices to raise awareness and improve the resilience of target groups.
  • Support to Albania in preparing for membership in the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCPM) through workshops, training and the exchange of expertise.
  • Programme support (oversight, coordination, results-based monitoring).
  • Improving the legal and institutional framework on early warning, flood management and civil protection.
  • Developing flood hazard maps according to the provisions of the EU Floods Directive.
  • Improving flood early warning and integration into the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS).
  • Running awareness-raising campaigns and promoting prevention measures among the population.
  • Supporting access to the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCPM).
  • Technical assistance
  • Capacity building
  • Training and workshops
  • Information dissemination