Lessons learnt PEP

Four pilot projects (Alblasserwaard - Vijfheerenlanden, Sloe area in the Netherlands, Kent in the United Kingdom, and the Wesermarsch pilot in Germany) focused on integrating emergency response planning in flood risk management. Four pilot projects (Alblasserwaard - Vijfheerenlanden, Reimerswaal, Sloe area in the Netherlands and the Wesermarsch pilot in Germany) focused on improving evacuation strategies (preventive evacuation, safe haven, shelters, vertical evacuation). These are the lessons learnt from those pilots:

Share knowledge, insights and perspectives. In Germany, regional fora were organized with water and crisis management organizations to share knowledge and information regarding their perspective in FRM and to improve flood preparedness in the region. In the Alblasserwaard pilot, it was difficult to engage municipalities but the project opened the eyes of the mayors for the necessary links between  water and spatial planning for evacuation. As a result, collaboration among authorities responsible of water, crisis management and spatial planning was greatly enhanced.

Find out how much social capital is available in case of an emergency. In the Alblasserwaard pilot, an assessment was carried out to identify which local groups can act as volunteers in case of evacuation (churches, sport clubs, local businesses, retired firefighters etc.). This knowledge about the amount of volunteers present in the area is extremely valuable in case of an emergency.

Integrate a catchment based-approach into flood action plans. Natural flood management (NFM) interventions are used as preventive measures looking beyond managing floods at property/ town level to manage floods at catchment level. In order to implement NFM wider in the catchment, the strategic flood action plan should improve. In Lustrum Beck pilot, the pilot manager will integrate the wider catchment management planning into infrastructure development plans.

Identify the criteria for potential shelter location. It is important to identify which buildings in the city fulfill the requirements of a shelter that can be used in case of a disaster such as flooding. These requirements are: high building to keep dry during a flooding; accommodate a large number of inhabitants from the area; be easily accessible by road; have facilities such as toilets, drinking water, heating; be water proof. the In the Sloe area pilot (Netherlands), the harbor facilities were assessed to find out if it can be used as a ‘safe haven’ or shelter for the people living in the Ritthem area. However, it was found out that it cannot be used as shelter location, because it does not fulfill these requirements.

Develop a clear communication strategy in case of an emergency. In the Netherlands, the chance for flooding due to dyke breaching is very low (1:4000 years). Thus, it may be difficult to communicate low probabilities of flooding to authorities responsible of spatial adaptation measures to ensure safe evacuation (roads, railways) in case of flooding. In addition, communication with citizens is also very important. In the Sloe area pilot, a communication strategy was therefore developed to instruct citizens what to do before, during and after a flood in the Ritthem area. This supports local authorities to improve their planning for emergency response and preparedness of communities.

Consider options and prepare an evacuation strategy in case of emergency. In the Sloe area pilot, an evacuation strategy with two options was developed: plan A is to evacuate people from high risk areas followed by the others, or horizontal evacuation via roads and waterways. Plan B is vertical evacuation: shelter people on the highest buildings in the area. In the  Wesermarsch pilot, there was no strategy on how to evacuate livestock in case of electricity failure due to flooding. Thanks to FRAMES, the farmers received a booklet with steps on how to increase flood preparedness of their farms.

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