About - contents.

History
What is the FEAT?
Why do we need the FEAT?
Purpose and limitations of this website
References

History

The Flash Environmental Assessment Tool (FEAT) was initially developed at the request of the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)/United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Joint Unit (JEU) based on lessons stemming from the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami (JEU, 2007) with the aim to provide a standardized, scientific assessment methodology to prioritize the impacts of chemical accidents following large scale, sudden onset natural disasters. Version 1 of FEAT was developed by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment of the Netherlands, with support from the Inspectorate of the (then) Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment of the Netherlands as well as DHV-Engineering Consultancy.

The FEAT helps to identify potential hazards posed by hazardous operations or natural disasters. The FEAT focuses on the “big and obvious” impacts and follows a step-by-step approach. As more information on hazardous operations, nearby receptors and pathways becomes available over time, the FEAT approach presents expected impacts on humans and the environment with more detail. It was envisioned that the FEAT is used at the onset of hazardous operations or a large-scale natural disaster, by international humanitarian responders that may be unfamiliar with the affected area. Other non-acute impacts should also be considered after the initial life-saving phase of the disaster.

Since its initial development, FEAT (2009) has proven to be a useful tool for assessing impacts from chemical accidents being used by national and international responders, both for emergency preparedness and emergency response. The evolution of these two different practical uses of the tool, in addition to increasing requests from the field for a ‘simple-to-use mapping tool’, led the JEU to initiate an evaluation and review. The result of the review was the development the FEAT 2.0 Reference Guide in 2015.

What is the FEAT?

The FEAT helps to identify and assess industrial hazards and impacts as well as interventions required to effectively prepare for, and respond to, chemical accidents. Essentially, the FEAT is a disaster risk management tool.

Regarding emergency response, the FEAT enables the assessment of environmental impacts caused by chemical releases from hazardous operations. The FEAT focuses on support of emergency response actions – i.e. activities within 72 hours after occurrence of a chemical accident. In doing so, it distinguishes hazardous operations at industrial facilities, transport, transport interfaces and pipelines. Infrastructural facilities, such as hydro dams, are not included, unless they contain specific hazardous substances associated with any of the above.

Regarding emergency preparedness, the FEAT focuses on initiating and supporting chemical risk reduction work.

Worldwide there are thousands of potentially hazardous operations. The FEAT has preselected in total 63 types of “high risk” hazardous operations in order to prioritize hazards of relevance for emergency planning. The selection is derived using the guidelines from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) with regard to the environment, health and safety (EHS - known as the "EHS Guidelines"). The FEAT supports existing international legislation, tools and mechanisms by providing a scientifically sound methodology for identifying gaps and setting priorities.

Why do we need the FEAT?

Almost every country experiences chemical accidents every year. Many hazardous substances used in industrial and infrastructure operations present a risk of chemical accidents that can cause extensive harm to people, the environment, and local or even national economies.

The UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution on International Cooperation on Humanitarian Assistance in the Field of Natural Disasters (UNGA A/RES/66/227) which “recognizes the importance of applying a multi-hazard approach to preparedness, and encourages Member States, taking into account their specific circumstances, and the United Nations system to continue to apply the approach to their preparedness activities, including by giving due regard to, inter alia, secondary environmental hazards stemming from industrial and technological accidents.

Even though the resolution is non-binding for UN Member States, the inclusion of the reference to secondary environmental hazards in a humanitarian resolution is important for mainstreaming the environment, including natechs (natural-hazard triggered technological disasters) into humanitarian assistance.

Purpose and limitations of this website

This webapplication accompanies the FEAT methodology that was developed at the request of the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)/United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Joint Unit (JEU). This application is a 'Proof of Concept' aimed at demonstrating and discussing possibilities for automating (parts of) the FEAT methods. It is not yet possible to perform full assessments using this website. Please note the general disclaimer on applying the FEAT methodology as well.

References

FEAT reference guide
RIVM report: FEAT - Flash Environmental Assessment Tool to identify acute environmental risks following disasters. The tool, the explanation and a case study