The Averted Disaster Award Announces the Lamu County Emergency Operation Centre as 2024 Winner

19 June 2024

Himeji, Japan, June 19, 2024 – The Averted Disaster Award (ADA) today named the Lamu County Emergency Operation Centre, Kenya, as the winner of the 2024 ADA award for outstanding Disaster Risk Management (DRM) intervention. This prestigious recognition was announced at the Understanding Risk Global Forum 2024, a four-day conference that brings together Disaster Risk Management experts and practitioners worldwide. Created in December 2021, the Averted Disaster Award is an annual competition that seeks to bring visibility to successful DRM programs and policies around the world. It recognizes proactive interventions that help ensure that communities continue to function, thrive, and recover quickly in the face of disaster risk. 

The Lamu County Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) earned this recognition for averting at least five major disasters since its inception in 2016. Particularly between October and December 2023, the region faced a compounded humanitarian crisis due to severe flooding and a cholera outbreak, following the worst drought in four decades. In response to heavy rainfall advisories issued by the Kenyan Meteorological Department, the EOC undertook extensive preparatory measures. These included disseminating tailored information to the community, identifying and stocking 12 evacuation centres, evacuating 4,900 at-risk families (approximately 18,000 people), and relocating 20,000 livestock and property to higher ground. The evacuation was completed 21 days prior to the floods, with evacuees provided with shelter, food, water, healthcare, and other amenities throughout the crisis.

During the floods, damage to the main connecting highway isolated Lamu County from the rest of Kenya, disrupting the delivery of goods and medical aid to evacuation centres. Additionally, an unexpected influx of displaced persons from other counties strained the available resources in Lamu County. This challenge was effectively addressed by mobilising support for additional shelters and supplies from national and international agencies. Remarkably, no human or animal lives were lost during the floods.

The ADA also announced today the Runner-up recipient of the 2024 Averted Disaster Award as well as three additional recognitions. The ADA named the Southern Africa Anticipatory Action Working Group (RAAWG), represented by the United Nations World Food Programme Southern Africa, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFCR) as the 2024 ADA Runner-up in recognition of strengthening inter-agency efforts towards regional anticipatory action for climate shocks in the region. When a pre-defined trigger threshold for drought impact is forecasted, the RAAWG works closely with local government and stakeholders to implement Anticipatory Actions such as early warning messages, cash transfers, the provision of drought-resistant seeds, agricultural training, and improving water sources. Their work was especially important during the 2023 El Niño event as RAAWG members activated Anticipatory Action in eSwatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Collectively, RAAWG reached more than two million people and unlocked close to USD 31 million in anticipatory finance, marking the largest funding of anticipatory assistance in Southern Africa and the highest number of parallel activations in a region to date.

Additionally, the ADA presented an Honourable Mention to the Disaster Response Force (DRF) in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation for being India’s first city-specific disaster rescue force. It effectively addresses various emergencies, including floods, structural collapses, and fires, through preparedness measures, early warning systems, and trained rescue personnel. The DRF has built trust among Hyderabad’s citizens by addressing over 13,000 emergencies, demonstrating its effectiveness.

Furthermore, the ADA acknowledged the World Bank for their grant-funded Improving Climate Data and Information Management Project (ICDIMP). This project has revolutionized climate data quality in Jamaica, empowering authorities to better predict and respond to flooding dangers. By upgrading hydro-meteorological infrastructure with new equipment and training, ICDIMP has enhanced forecasts and climate modeling. The project has expanded observation networks, improved data transmission, and preserved rainfall records. With the installation of 72 Automatic Weather Stations, it created the Caribbean’s first real-time weather reporting system, benefiting 1.2 million people.

Moreover, the Taiwan Reyhanli Centre for World Citizens has also been recognized with an Honourable Mention. Located in Reyhanli, a town on the Turkish-Syrian border, the centre was created in 2016 to address the needs of the burgeoning Syrian refugee population. The centre is notable for being the first humanitarian architecture project in the Levant region, receiving praise and awards for its innovative approach to fostering socio-cultural and economic integration between Syrian refugees and Turkish locals. In the wake of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake on February 6, 2023, the earthquake-resistant centre played a critical role in humanitarian relief, providing shelter, food, electricity and essential services to nearly 2,000 people. It also coordinated with 22 international NGOs to aid the affected communities. As life in Reyhanli began to stabilize, the centre led efforts to construct transitional shelters and implement long-term recovery plans, focusing on sustainable livelihoods and the inclusion of displaced and disadvantaged groups.

The session announcing the winner and awardees was hosted by Averted Disaster Award Advisory Board Member Francis Ghesquiere and Selection Committee members, David Lallemant and Olivia Jensen. Ghesquiere is Practice Manager for the Water Sector in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region of the World Bank. Dr. Olivia Jensen is Lead Scientist at the LRF Institute for the Public Understanding of Risk, National University of Singapore. David Lallemant heads the Disaster Analytics for Society Lab at Nanyang Technological University and Earth Observatory of Singapore and his work serves as the basis for the Averted Disaster Award. At the end of the ceremony, after inviting Shee Kupi, the Lamu County Director of Disaster Risk Management and Peace Building who presented the winning project, onto the stage, they announced that the nomination period for the Averted Disaster Award 2025 will open next November.

About the ADA:

In the world of Disaster Risk Management, success means ‘nothing happens’: this can lead policy makers and society at large to undervalue the importance of proactive intervention. This award aims to shed light on successes in DRM to recognize the outstanding work of those who invest in measures that keep our communities and world safe. It recognizes proactive interventions implemented around the world that help ensure that communities continue to function, thrive, and recover quickly in the face of disaster risk.

The Averted Disaster Award is an initiative of the Understanding Risk community and is supported by the Global Fund for Disaster Risk Reduction (GFDRR). Additional information about the Averted Disaster Award can be found at

For more information concerning the ADA, contact