The I-REACT team meets with the Sava River Commission and the World Meteorological Organisation

As the development of I-REACT is increasingly more tangible, our team is doubling efforts to contact the diverse stakeholders that could benefit from the technological solution of the project. This week has been particularly noticeable in this respect, with the celebration of several meetings that have led to the establishment of important connections.

On June 13th, our team was invited to meeting the International Sava River Commission to collaborate in the implementation of a new Early Warning system for floods funded by the World Bank. This system was presented in an advanced version under the name of Flood Forecasting and Warning System in the Sava River Basin (Sava FFWS), and was demonstrated to be ready for implementation. At the meeting, different ways of collaboration were explored. On the one hand, the possibility of integrating their data in the I-REACT platform was explored whereas, on the other, the consortium offered to provide different unique information derived from satellite modelling, social media analysis and citizen reports, for a better management of disasters in the region.

Sava River floods in 2014 (source Balkanist Magazine)

Later in the week, another meeting was held in Ljubljana hosted by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The meeting was focused on the implementation of the South East European Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System (SEE-MHEWS-A), a large joint initiative for improving meteorological, hydrological and marine forecasting, through the enhancement of modelling, nowcasting, ICT infrastructure and data provision. In this context, our project will contribute to this large effort with novel products and services, from the crowdsourcing of information to the gamification of citizen reporting.

Important conclusions were extracted from both meetings that are in line with the efforts of our project. Emphasis was made towards people-centered systems are key in order to reduce the impact of disasters, and on the communication effort to create a risk-informed society. Overall, the contribution of I-REACT was appreciated in supporting the integration of citizen data, in the communication of warnings and risk awareness information through mobile phones and social media, but also in the creation of a Cloud based ICT infrastructure that is scalable, reliable,  flexible, and capable of handling Big Data in real-time. To this end, the modular architecture of I-REACT will allow interoperability with existing systems and provision of added value data and service to other initiatives such as Sava FFWS and SEE-MHEWS-A, at transboundary, EU, and global levels.

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