China's early warning practice focuses on personnel and technology combination and prioritizes system

Source: China Meteorological New Press Date: 2023/02/07

Just imagine the following scenario. A late-night rainstorm is around the corner and the highest level of early warning is generated with a press of the button on a meteorological operational platform. The early warning is disseminated to the affected area through all available channels, enabling manpower, equipment, and supplies to where they are most needed, directing people away from the flooding-threatened areas to safe localities.

From generating, releasing to relaying information, this whole procedure is namely, early warning, which is a systemic concept, that can save lives at critical moments.

The advance and accuracy of early warning depend on the sustained improvement of observation and forecasting capabilities, which is a long process. It is imperative to make full use of existing technical conditions to ensure that every warning is as effective as possible.

China is a vast and populous country, while the public coverage rate of weather warning reaches 92.7%. China has explored and developed its own practice in releasing wide-ranging and effective early warnings.

Real-time monitoring platform of national emergency event early warning information dissemination Provided by CMA Public Meteorological Service Centre

Personnel and technology combination holds the key to wide-ranging early warning dissemination.

At the technical level, China has built an early warning information dissemination operational system which is interconnected, normalized and unified, and is applied by multiple departments. It is horizontally connected to 16 government departments, vertically connected to the state, provinces, cities and counties, and can directly reach people responsible for emergency response at each level.

Meanwhile, the system has designated lines accessing TV stations, emergency response broadcasting, mobile operators and ABT Internet platforms. It encompasses 4 major categories of emergency events in terms of natural disasters, accidents and disasters, public health events, and social security events. It has also realized the unified dissemination of 76 types of early warning information.

In the mean while, through varied channels like the ocean fax map, emergency response broadcasting in villages, WeChat mini-programs, and chatting robots, the system has enabled more accurate and tailored early warnings to reach the affected sectors, regions and the specific population.

However, technology itself cannot ensure early warning coverage of villages and concrete scenarios such as homes and schools. Thus, the emergency response accountable person system with distinctive Chinese characteristics came into being.

The meteorological warnings that reach people can guarantee that the grassroots level can organize hidden danger inspection, personnel evacuation, rescue and relief work in time.

The "call-and-response" mechanism was therefore formulated. When a high-level early warning is issued, meteorological departments will notify the township principal and grassroots emergency response accountable persons covered by early warning as soon as possible. This mechanism has fared well in geological disaster-prone areas such as the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, and in areas with scarce distribution of personnel such as Inner Mongolia and Tibet.

During flood season in 2022, in Peixiu village, Rongshui Miao Nationality Autonomous County, Guangxi, officers and water condition monitoring staff received rainstorm early warning and quickly patrolled along the river. They timely discovered flash flood signs, and evacuated 358 residents from 12 households along the river and near geological hazard sites through loudspeaker.

It is these grassroots methods with the responsibility directly falling in relevant persons that has ensured life safety before and in the wake of sudden disasters like flash floods and landslides.

The emergency response joint coordination mechanism with guaranteed efficacy and oriented by meteorological early warning is key to effective warning dissemination.

China's practice is to rely on government leadership to facilitate joint coordination among departments, thus driving the participation of social forces.

Led by governments at each levels, meteorological disaster defense and command headquarters were established in various localities. They have incorporated multiple departments such as emergency management and water conservancy, refined division of responsibilities, and pushed forward more close-knitted cooperation with other departments in public security, natural resources, transportation, agriculture and rural areas, emergency response management, etc.

At the same time, CMA has released documents to ensure that meteorological early warning become one of the conditions for activating emergency response.

In addition, local meteorological departments have also explored cross-department joint coordination mechanism towards local conditions. For example, "31631" meteorological forecasting work mechanism in Shenzhen, "three call-and-response" early warning mechanism in Guizhou, "grid point plus meteorology" model in Zhejiang, "631" step-by-step early warning model in Hunan, and "1262" refined urban and rural meteorological disaster response mechanism in Fujian, etc.

In 2022, the 12th typhoon Muihua made landfall in China four times. Under the guidance of relevant national-level departments, faced with the direct windy and rainy weather impact of Muifa, relevant departments in Zhejiang, Shanghai, Shandong and other places activated"six stop (cancelling classes, work, transport, shipment, parking, shutting down)" measures in line with relevant regulation and plans. The preventive measures were orderly and effective.

Before the landing of typhoon Muifa, relevant departments in Haiyan County, Zhejiang braced for the upcoming typhoon Muifa, in 2022 .

Currently, CMA has spearheaded Global Multi-Hazard Alert System in Asia (GMAS-A) of World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and provided technical aid to countries in Asia and Africa along the Belt and Road.

Editor: Jiang Zhiqing

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