The United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) launched on August 20th an "Early Warning System for Flash Floods" in Petra and Wadi Mousa. The launch comes as part of UNDP’s support to the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) in the domain of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation and represents an attempt to mainstream Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) capacities in local development initiatives. The project was funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and cost shared by the Government of Jordan and PDTRA.
The Early Warning System works to inform potential flood threats in Wadi Musa and Petra before happening and therefore aims at minimizing material loss and save lives through the adaptation of responsive evacuations plans. The installation of the Early Warning System originated through a successful partnership with the Department of Meteorology who provided technical support, their experienced staff were then trained on the system specifications and reading techniques.
Cooperation between PDTRA and the Department of Meteorology will continue to maintain the Early Warning System functionality and expand the area it covers. UNDP Country Director, Ms. Zena Ali Ahmad, highlighted the importance of the Early Warning System and reminded that Petra has been affected by several floods since 1963 to 2013, which caused lives and property losses. For this reason, she also added: "This system comes as our contribution to protect lives as United Nations Development Programme, with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, the Government of Jordan and Petra Development Tourism Region Authority ".
The Deputy Chief Commissioner of the PDTRA, Dr. Imad Hijazeen, further stressed the vital role of this system, which contributes to protection of lives and properties as well as the archaeological values of Petra. He also added that “the Early Warning System is an essential tool to contain floods. The need for such mechanism became vibrant after thorough studies which resulted in a comprehensive map showing potential risks of floods, earthquakes and landslides that might threaten the region".
Mr. Masalha, Commissioner of Infrastructure and Urban Planning from PDTRA, also said: "the map was prepared in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme with the financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation ". At the end of ceremony, attendees visited the location of the installed early warning system and received a detailed explanation of its functioning from technical engineers.