Natural Hazard Risk
Moldova is exposed to many natural hazards, including droughts, early frost onset, earthquakes, floods, hail storms, and landslides, and to severe weather patterns. Sixty percent of the Moldovan population is rural and dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, which makes the country’s economy highly vulnerable to weather-related natural hazards. Yearly flooding, according to GFDRR analysis, affects about 70,000 Moldovans and about $100 million in gross domestic product. In 2010, flooding caused by heavy rains destroyed critical infrastructure, washed away crops and livestock, and damaged homes, costing nearly $42 million in estimated damages and losses.
Among severe weather patterns, droughts occur frequently. A 2012 drought led to agricultural losses estimated at $100 million. With 60 percent of the population dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, the country’s economy is highly vulnerable to weather-related natural hazards. Climate change is leading to more extreme climatic events in Moldova. The trend of increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters is expected to continue.
Located in proximity to Romania’s Vrancea seismic zone, earthquakes occur infrequently but cause large damage. The significant 1986 earthquake caused an estimated $500 million in losses.
Building institutional frameworks to manage disaster risks and to protect economic development gains against natural hazards and extreme weather is a government priority. The Republican Commission for Emergency, established in 2001, manages major emergencies. The State Hydro-meteorological Service (2002) provides daily and five-day forecasts for disaster preparedness, and the State Department of Exceptional Situations (2003) oversees disaster prevention, response, relief, and recovery.
Thru a consolidated action plan, Moldova’s 2020 National Development Strategy addresses climate change and natural disasters as a means to achieve qualitative economic development and poverty reduction. Measures include ongoing monitoring and research of climate change impacts, related social and economic vulnerability, and regular updating of climate scenarios.
The government is prioritizing:
- Strengthening institutions to better prepare for and respond to disasters;
- Reducing the agricultural sector’s vulnerability to climate change;
- Improving the ability to forecast severe weather and the quality of local forecasts; and,
- Strengthening regional collaboration and knowledge sharing on disaster risk management.
Since 2010, GFDRR has supported Moldova to develop a national disaster risk management system for extreme weather. Following the devastating 2010 floods, GFDRR supported the government to conduct a post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA) and to better plan recovery actions. The PDNA identified strengthening hydromet services, data sharing, and early warning as critical areas. The PDNA also informed recovery efforts financed by other donors and set the stage for future investment programs.
Also in 2010, GFDRR began supporting activities in Moldova to reduce its natural hazard risk, particularly in agriculture and related sectors, and economic vulnerability to natural shocks. These activities helped inform a $10 million World Bank project, and which supported the development of hydromet services, civil protection, and climate-smart agriculture. Additional $2 million in financing helped to establish the Emergency Command Center for disaster response, to create a mobile weather and market information alert system, and to operationalize a modern weather monitoring and visualization system that supports improved accuracy and lead times in forecasting severe weather.
In 2016, GFDRR, together with the World Bank, developed quantitative country risk profiles for Moldova and other Europe and Central Asian countries to equip government decision-makers with more information about how floods and earthquakes are likely to impact people and the economy.
In 2017, building on work to strengthen hydromet services, GFDRR began supporting the government’s technical and service delivery capacity for hydromet services and its ability to utilize weather forecasts and climate observations.
GFDRR anticipates continued demand from the Government of Moldova in:
- Building resilience and adaptation to climate impacts, especially in the agricultural sector;
- Identifying flexible disaster risk financing instruments; and,
- Leveraging regional collaboration and existing European meteorological infrastructure to improve local forecasting of trans-boundary weather phenomena.