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Symposium on Public Weather Services

First International Symposium on Public Weather Services Hosted by UN Agency

New York, Dec 3 2007 7:00PM

The United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has brought together more than 100 experts for the first international symposium on public weather services to discuss how to help protect communities from natural disasters and the adverse impact of climate change.

The three-day symposium, which started today in Geneva, is tasked with preparing a road map to help the national meteorological and hydrological services of countries deliver more useful, effective and relevant information about the weather to their customers.

WHO said in a media statement that the estimated 120 symposium participants will analyze existing gaps in the service delivery of weather information providers, as well as the strengths of public weather services.

“Much has been done to raise awareness among governments on the importance of such services,” WHO said in the statement. “But, despite very good forecasts and warnings being available, people still die from weather-related hazards.”

The agency said both governments and the general public need further education to better understand and use weather forecasts, particularly in case of emergencies following natural disasters.

Already WHO is launching two-year pilot projects in Latin America, Africa and Asia to help poor countries in those regions improve their public weather services.

ENDS

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