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EVANDE: Enhancing Volunteer Awareness and education against Natural Disasters through E-learning

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Contract Information

Programme: EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Programme Acronym: OTHER EU PROGRAMMES
Contract Type: NO CONTRACT TYPE
Start Date: 2015-01-01
End Date: 2016-12-31
Contract No: ECHO/SUB/2014/693261
Role for TUC/MUSIC: Contractor
Funding for TUC/MUSIC: 85236.0 Euros
Principal Investigator for TUC/MUSIC: Stavros Christodoulakis

Project Information

Project Description

In nowadays societies are facing a great risk related to the extreme hazards that are induced either by climate change or natural processes of the Earth system. Data and projections on climate change summarized in the Climate Change 2007 - The Physical Science Basis (Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report 2007) indicate that the area of Mediterranean is going to face severe environmental problems, amplifying droughts (and wild fires), floods as well extreme weather phenomena. In addition, the active geodynamic regime induces more threats to inhabitants and environment. Earthquakes may be considered as the most hazardous phenomena, however in many European countries more people are killed by thunders than from earthquakes.

Our Continent has suffered in recent past many severe disasters, which were combined with vulnerable infrastructures and assets, having thus influenced large areas and thousands of citizens. Wild or forest fires are common in Mediterranean countries and have burnt only the last decade million hectares of forest or scrubland area and caused hundreds of victims in Portugal, southern Spain, Italy and Greece. Extreme floods do occur more often the last decades than in past, possibly as a result of climate change, over flowing large parts of central and Eastern Europe, as well Balkan countries. It is a bad incident that these days Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia are facing the worst floods of the last 150 years with an impact larger than the former civil war! Voluntary aid and human support emerged as the greatest need during the first days of this disaster. Gained experience form former Civil protection operations and drills indicated that although many studies, projects and actions have been undertaken, still lack of knowledge, command chain missfunctions and weak preparedness can be identified in the various operational levels. Problems increase when referring to the non-professional civil protection staff, i.e. the local authorities’ and volunteers, which periodically may be substituted by others.

Several drills that have been undertaken during various European initiatives and projects (like PATCH, RACCE, or POSEIDON) revealed a serious knowledge lack both in professionals and volunteers acting on civil protection. In addition, officials distribute rumors and wrong policies shared globally by emails, drills are performed in such way that finally result in psychological problems in participating children, and important communication difficulties can be identified among the various voluntary groups. Two very important conclusions rise up from these cases. The various groups operating in civil protection mechanism, like local administration staff or volunteers, in many cases do not have the necessary knowledge and information on best practices to act against natural disasters. In addition, knowledge and practices produced under various projects, initiatives and research do not always reach final beneficiaries, as well as citizens, reducing their contribution in the proper preparedness and response plans. In order to achieve the main goals of Hyogo Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction it is necessary that all actors engaged in Civil protprotection operations and drills indicated that although many studies, projects and actions have been undertaken, still lack of knowledge, command chain missfunctions and weak preparedness can be identified in the various operational levels. Problems increase when referring to the non-professional civil protection staff, i.e. the local authorities’ and volunteers, which periodically may be substituted by others.

In order to achieve the main goals of Hyogo Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction it is necessary that all actors engaged in Civil protection have to be integrated in a continuous process of collaboration, communication, exchange of innovative methodologies, best practices and educational approaches in order to raise awareness and improve preparedness and effective response in all levels. This project aims thus to create a new learning tool to educate and train civil protection volunteers and local authorities’ staff through identification of best practices and knowledge, to develop a web platform to host e-learning courses and training activities, as well as to organize and implement local - based dissemination and training actions. The project will explore and analyse pre-existing knowledge developed under EU projects, Scientific Research and Civil Protection strategies, as well as existing infrastructure (museums, centers, exhibits). It will be addressed to Local authorities’ staff, civil protection actors and volunteers, and will be implemented through educational, awareness and training activities. As several partners have direct relation to the European Geoparks Network, which promotes knowledge, best practices and raising awareness on natural environment for the benefit of societies, project foresees to develop synergistic activities with the 58 members of the network to advance knowledge transfer, share valuable information and train target groups in local level, magnifying the effectiveness and implementation of already gained knowledge and developed outcomes.

Project’s objectives are thus the exchange and exploitation of information and good practices through the identification, validation and popularization of knowledge on the most serious Natural disasters, like droughts, forest fires, floods, and earthquakes; the development of tools and actions to increase the performance and raise of awareness of civil protection operators and of volunteers in local level; the improvement of communication and collaboration of professional and non-professional civil protection actors; and thus the creation of better prerequisites for, and improve preparedness of civil protection professionals and volunteers in local level against natural disasters.

Project Publications

(2) Supporting learning communities and communities of practice with Coursevo

Publication Authors: Pappas N., Arapi P., Moumoutzis N., Christodoulakis S.
Publication Info: IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), Athens, Greece, 25-28 April 2017
Publication Type: Conference Publications

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(1) ViSTPro: A platform for visualization of spatiotemporal processes on Google Earth

Publication Authors: Sifakis G., Moumoutzis N., Christodoulakis S.
Publication Info: IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), Athens, Greece, 25-28 April 2017
Publication Type: Conference Publications

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Project Consortium

Partner Logo NHMC
Natural History Museum of Crete
EL
Partner Logo RIBERA
Consorci De La Ribera
ES
Partner Logo BEIGUA
Parco Del Beigua EUROPEAN & GLOBAL GEOPARK
ΙΤ
Partner Logo EPPO
Earthquake Planning & Protection Organisation
EL
Partner Logo CSFVM
Centro Studi e Formazione Villa Montesca
ΙΤ
Partner Logo CEI
Centre for Educational Initiatives
BG