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Disaster risk reduction policies and institutional mechanisms exist at various degrees of completeness in the African countries represented in the IRMA Consortium. Their effectiveness is however limited when dealing with major disasters and complex emergencies. Risk management is often limited to specific hazard monitoring with limited or no consideration of the vulnerabilities of the area at risk neither to the systemic nature and possible domino effect between risks of different kinds. It is the vulnerability of the population and or the infrastructure at risk that may transform a hazard into a major disaster.
It is nowadays largely recognized that an efficient response to these situations must rely upon Information and Communications Systems, which will offer the stakeholders reliable, comprehensive information to anticipate risks and to respond to emergencies. An innovative use of state-of-the-art ICT is part of the solution. In industrialized countries disaster risk reduction is based on high tech expensive solutions which require coordination of a wide range of actors each with a set of functions and responsibilities for which they are accountable and a specific infrastructure that is designed to resist most disasters. Private mobile radio systems are just an example of telecom infrastructure for public safety. None of this is or will be available in developing countries in a foreseeable future.
In this context, the IRMA project intends to build a reference platform suitable for the management of natural and environmental risks in Africa. The platform must allow the stakeholders in risk management to develop and use tailored risk management models and tools; therefore, the platform will be build upon the achievements of former EU projects such as WIN, ORCHESTRA, SSE, SANY and u-2010, as there are interoperable components, information infrastructure architectures and solutions, as well as clients and management tools and frameworks that allow to set up an efficient and sustainable multi-risks management.