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NIMFRU: National-Scale Impact Based Forecasting of Flood Risk in Uganda

Funder

NERC, DfID

Project Team

Prof Ros Cornforth, Mr Dai Clegg, Mr Zakari Saley Bana, Dr Celia Petty, Miss Luisa Ciampi, Dr Liz Stephens, Hon James Acidri MP, Dr Alfred Ongom, Dr Festus Luboyera, Dr Shuaib Lwasa, Didas Namanya, Associate Professor Duncan Ongeng, Miriam Talwisa, Cristina Talens

Partners

Evidence for Development (EfD), National Emergency Coordination and Operations Centre (NECOC), Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA), Uganda National Health Research Organisation (UNHRO), Gulu University (GULU), Climate Action Network (CAN-U), Lorna Young Foundation (LYF)

Timescales

November 2018- April 2020

Country/Region

Uganda

Key Contact

Prof Ros Cornforth

Keywords

Early Flood Warning Systems, Forecast-based-Financing, Community Vulnerability and Livelihood Risk, Communications

Status

Current

Background

With increasing climate instability, being able to proactively and effectively deal with flood frequency and volume is becoming increasingly important, particularly to vulnerable communities. Despite significant investments in early warning systems, only limited progress has been made towards making flood prone communities safe. Forecast-based Financing (FbF) is an initiative which enables humanitarian funds for early action to be released before a disaster on the basis of a forecast. The initial Forecast-based Financing pilot (FbF) project in North Eastern Uganda has highlighted the complexity in establishing vulnerability and response thresholds needed to guide and up- scale interventions effectively. Scaling-up FbF across a nation is therefore a grand challenge due to the complexity of environmental, climatic and socioeconomic factors affecting flood risk, the multi-sectoral (health, environment, water, transport) impacts and the range of factors affecting response at community level. Understanding the specific vulnerabilities of communities at different seasons, and their exposure to different types of flood threat is key to improving physical and livelihood risk assessment, preparedness, communication and response. Therefore the demand from the FbF community for impact-based forecasts at a national scale in Uganda drives the need for a new approach that synthesises evidence from different disciplines including climate science, hydrology, and livelihoods. The NIMFRU project responds to this need.

Our research

The NIMFRU project offers a new approach that will provide comprehensive flood impact assessments for FbF across all areas of Uganda, complementing the SHEAR - FATHUM project’s outputs on forecast skill with basic household economy/socio-economic information, to guide preparedness, protection and response. By working with a rich consortium of partners and field experts, NIMFRU will integrate and synthesise multi-sectoral information to establish robust impact- based flood forecasting, add the fundamental dimension of livelihood impact to establish the sensitivities and vulnerabilities of varying population groups to flood events, and strengthen policy level capability to access and utilise the integrated multi-sectoral Livelihoods Impact-Based Forecasting (LIMB) system.

Our impact

By developing and refining a methodology which provides a national flood impact dataset reflecting the time-varying nature of flooding on different population groups and integrating this with the Livelihood Impact-Based (LIMB) flood forecasting, NIMFRU will uncover and share critical information around disaster response and post disaster rehabilitation which will prevent further deterioration of resilience. The methodology has been designed so that it can be adopted around the world at local and national scales, therefore improving flood resilience globally. This work will also enhance the skills and capabilities of the critical mass of practitioners and analysts needed to facilitate the day to day data collection and analysis of this methodology in Uganda. This training will be supported by the local universities of Gulu and Makerere who will facilitate the courses to ensure sustainable change in country. This work will also inform the wider Uganda National Climate Change Policy, meaning that it will add to the imperative systems and information required for high level policy makers to make informed decisions and meaningful, sustainable change.