Understanding the barriers restraining effective operation of flood early warning systems


  • Vibhas Sukhwani Keio University
  • Bismark Adu Gyamfi Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus, 5322 Endo, Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture 252-0882, Japan
  • Ruiyi Zhang Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus 5322 Endo, Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture 252-0882, Japan;
  • Anwaar Mohammed AlHinai Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus 5322 Endo, Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture 252-0882, Japan;
  • Rajib Shaw Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus 5322 Endo, Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture 252-0882, Japan;




Flood disasters, Structural measures, Non-structural measures, Early Warning Systems, Effective operation


Over the years, a variety of structural and non-structural measures have been employed by the human societies to counter the growing frequency and intensity of natural disasters. Among the various measures, Early Warning Systems (EWSs) have globally been acknowledged as one of the key non-structural measures for disaster mitigation and preparedness, especially due to their multi-faceted benefits. However, their effective operation during rapid-onset disasters like floods is often disrupted pertaining to a variety of reasons. These manifold reasons have today become critical barriers which restrain the smooth functioning of EWSs. This paper theorizes that the numerous barriers restraining the effective operation of EWSs can primarily be categorized into Knowledge, Technology and Institutional aspects. To support this argument, the study presents an overview of three selected examples of flood disasters in Cameron Highlands (Malaysia), North Kyushu (Japan) and Sri Lanka. Based on published literature, the study lists out key reasons that affected the timely functioning of Flood-EWSs in all the selected cases and explains them in relation to the three theorized categories of barriers. In view of the current limited understanding, this study provides a new perspective for understanding the barriers in EWSs and correspondingly enhancing their operation during disaster situations.


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How to Cite

Sukhwani, V., Gyamfi, B. A., Zhang, R., AlHinai, A. M., & Shaw, R. (2019). Understanding the barriers restraining effective operation of flood early warning systems. International Journal of Disaster Risk Management, 1(2), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.18485/ijdrm.2019.1.2.1