Flood Forecasting and Early Warning System in Guyana

Guyana is extremely susceptible to hydro-meteorological hazards such as flooding and droughts which often have a devastating impact on the country’s primary industry – agriculture. The unequal participation in agriculture between women and men is linked to gender-based access to land, resulting in gendered occupational segregation, higher vulnerabilities, risks, and disaster impacts.

In order to reduce vulnerabilities and bolster women’s disaster management capacity in Guyana, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and national stakeholders have engaged to implement a 3-year initiative “Strengthening disaster management capacity of women in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Commonwealth of Dominica” targeting problems’ drivers such as gaps in gender analysis, hazard and risk data; limited integration of climate change, disaster risk planning and practices in the agriculture sector; limited access to appropriate and sustainable finance for vulnerable small farmers and women’s groups.

Under this initiative, the United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT) has partnered with UNDP Guyana to enhance Guyana’s disaster resilience with a particular focus on flood-prone communities by implementing the flood forecasting system and capacity development related activities in collaboration with CIMA Research Foundation (CIMA). Implementation of the operational flood forecasting system considered development of the meteorological-hydrological modelling chain on the country level linked to the 2-dimensional flood models in 4 communities. The close cooperation with the Hydrometeorological Service of Guyana (Hydromet) and missions to Guyana allowed to develop a robust and tailored flood forecasting system and to build ownership of the tool by the end users. The operational tool is based on an innovative flood forecasting chain which daily results are visualized with myDewetra Caribbean platform.

The implementation of this robust flood forecasting modelling tool is the first step to support and strengthen the Guyanese Flood Forecasting practices and Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) activities. To ensure a sustainable impact and strengthen technical capacities, capacity development in terms of operational flood forecasting, geospatial information technology for flood risk management were also delivered. The project activities are concluded with awareness raising workshop about the FEWS with focus on Early Warning Communication.