Disaster risk assessment in the Danube macro-region

Miklós Székely
SEERISK was a transnational EU funded project called "Joint Disaster Management - risk assessment and preparedness in the Danube macro-region" launched in 2012 and concluded in early 2015. The project consortium comprised 20 project partners representing 9 countries, namely Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The consortium was coordinated by the National Directorate General for Disaster Management (NDGDM) of Hungary.
Fitting to the global trends the frequency and severity of the extreme climatic events in South-East European (SEE) region has been increasing due to climate change. Even though this phenomenon affects countries, territories and municipalities differently, there are common and region-specific challenges. SEERISK project took into account particular risks and horizontal challenges as well. The countries involved are territorially coherent: the cooperation concentrated on the Middle and Lower Danube Basin, where a wide range of natural risk types occur. There are regions or municipalities where flood is the predominant risk factor (e.g. in Senica, Slovakia), whereas in other project territories, unforeseeable thunderstorms cause serious damages (e.g. in Siófok, Hungary) or frequent draughts induce damage to agriculture (e.g. in Kanjiza, Serbia). In addition to climate related hardships, institutional, societal and organizational gaps hinder the adaptive capacities in the region such as low level of climate awareness, weak preparedness, territorial planning and administrational inefficiencies. The 2.5 year long project implemented the main outputs and products of the project at 6 pilot municipalities or regions from Romania (Arad), Serbia (Kanjiza), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo), Slovakia (Senica), Hungary (Siófok) and Bulgaria (Velingrad). The project applied climate change related disaster risk assessment, social awareness survey, GIS based disaster risk mapping, emergency preparedness and gap analysis: a comparison between risk assessment and risk perception of local communities.