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IABG launches project ARIMA for natural hazards prevention

IABG´s project manager Felicitas Bellert kicked-off ‘ARIMA’ project on assessment and simulation of multi-hazard risks in the Marrakech-Safi region.

The Assessment and Simulation of Present and Future Multi-hazard Risks in the Marrakech-Safi Region (ARIMA) project officially kicked off this past Thursday January 31st, 2019 in the ‘Ochre City’. The goal of this project is to help regional stakeholders and beneficiaries prevent and manage natural hazards in the region with the help of a comprehensive web platform.

Co-financed by the European Commission, the project is led by IABG – a German company with state-of-the-art solutions in spatial observation. Partners are RESING - a Moroccan consulting firm specialized in sustainable development, 3GEO – the laboratory of the science faculty Semlalia of Marrakech (University Cadi Ayyad), UNU-EHS – the institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University, and CIMA – a non-profit research organization specialized in engineering and environmental sciences.

Over a period of two years (2019 - 2020), the ARIMA project will develop a Multi hazard Risk Information Platform (MRIP), specifically customized for the needs of the Marrakech-Safi region. The platform will compile spatial information collected from satellite Earth observations on current and future multi-hazard risks. It will focus on vulnerable social and ecological systems within this part of Morocco.

Indeed, the Marrakech-Safi region has suffered multiple natural disasters in the past decades, including a 1995 flash flood when 230 people lost their lives and 500 disappeared, including entire families. The consequences on the local infrastructure and the economy – in particular agriculture – were also very severe. Another flood happened in 2006, and the risk will keep increasing due to climate change.

Therefore, the project will enable regional beneficiaries (Hydraulic Agency, Urban Agency, Civil Protection Agency, Agriculture Agency etc.) to integrate new information and assessments into their risk management strategies, increasing their ability to devise preventive measures against the most relevant hazards affecting the region such as floods, droughts, and erosion.

The ARIMA project will also help strengthen local capacities. Regional experts will acquire capabilities to assess future risks and systematically integrate this information in their daily analysis. This methodology will help them plan and prioritize preventive measures in order to mitigate the potential impact on people, goods, infrastructures, and the local economy.

In a recent declaration given to the ‘Morocco Agency Press (MAP)’, Mrs Sandra Mezzadri, representative from IABG, commented that the project contributes to the European Union’s goal of helping vulnerable populations build resilience against natural hazards related to climate change. She explained that Morocco was chosen for this project given the dynamism of the country in terms of risk management initiatives. “We identified an essential need for a standardized and comprehensive tool where the results of all the local surveys in terms of flood, drought and erosion impact will be rolled in and used,” she explained.

The project will be carried out in close collaboration with the local beneficiaries of the platform, who will assist in the data collection process.