Regional Preparedness to Floods Putting Together a Regional Prevention by kch10832


									                       Region al P reparedn ess to Flood s
                         Putting Tog eth er a Region al
                        Prevention and Respon se P lan

                           AER Emergency Planning Network
Gloucestershire (UK)
                                                     Forewo rd                Backgroun d – Wh y Flo od P revention?
                                                                                           The role of the regional level

This document was drafted by the AER Social Policy and Public                 Floods are responsible for lots of damages:
Health Committee (2) and is meant to gather the outcomes of the               • Human losses are the most tragic. Since 1998, floods in Europe
presentations and discussions held during the AER Emergency                      have caused some 700 deaths and the displacement of about
Planning Network meeting on Regions Preparedness to Floods in                    half a million people.1
Limoges (Limousin-F) on 30th March 2009. Suggestions from and links           • Economic losses are also significant. The estimated losses in
to other projects websites were added to complete the picture.                   central Europe in 2002 amounted to EUR 17.4 billion, which was
                                                                                 more than the GDP of Bulgaria in that year. The cost of floods in
The recommendations or guidelines you will find are not exhaustive               the United Kingdom in Summer 2007 is estimated at around
or detailed enough to be sufficient in the preparation of a regional             EUR 4,3 billion. 2
plan for facing floods.                                                       • Economic losses are also indirect. Thus, companies out of the
The objective of this document is more to summarize the ideas and                flood plain can also be affected through the disruption of
best practices regions exchanged during our meeting in Limoges, and              communication and transportation means, or through the
for those who were not able to attend, to share thoughts and                     incapacity for the affected area to provide essential services
reflections of actions that might be implemented at the regional level.          such as water and energy supply.
If you wish to contribute to the improvement of these guidelines with
your o wn regional experience, please contact the AER Committee 2
Secretariat (

                                                                              Economic losses caused by
                                                                              floods, Açores (P)

                                                                               DG Environment,
                                                                               Stéphane Isoard, EEA, Economic consequences of Europe’s changing climate –
                                                                              2008 indicator-based assessment
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The consequences of floods are extensive, and their real impact on
local and regional development and competitiveness is difficult to
measure and rarely taken into account.

The positive aspect of flood is often left behind: when they do not
imply human or economic damages, floods make flood plains fertile
and enable higher crop yields. In addition, flood plains support very
high densities of human settlement.
This also explains why the population density of the Netherlands is
very high. Besides, these countries whose territories are mostly
comprised of flood plains usually have a high gross domestic
product. 3

The implication of the regional level in flood prevention is vital.
Indeed, the regions play an important role in spatial planning and
economic development. There is a real challenge for them to adapt
existing assets and new settlements to the flooding risks.
Moreover, the regions are also employers, owners of equipment, or
subsidy managers on their territories.
Finally, regions are the level of governance that is the closest to the
citizens. Consequently, when they face an emergency and are
searching for practical answers, citizens will first address the               European Environmental Agency, Flood events, 1998-2008

“Local authorities should play a major role in the management of
local flood risk, taking the lead in tackling local problems of flooding
and co-ordinating all relevant agencies.” (The Pitt Review, Learning
Lessons from the 2007 Floods)

 Associated Programme on Flood Management, Integrated Flood Management,
Concept Paper, 2004
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             The E uro pean Uni on and Fl ood                                   in particular as regards organisation and responsibility of
                                  Prevention                                    2009 – A Community approach on the prevention of natural and
                                                                                man-made disasters

2007 – The Flood Directive                                                      In February 2009, the European Commission published a new
                                                                                Communication on the need for a Community approach on the
On 26 November 2007, the Directive 2007/60/EC on the assessment                 prevention of natural and man-made disasters, which would be more
and management of flood risks entered into force. Aiming at                     effective than separate national approaches. This common approach
reducing and managing the risks posed by floods, this Directive                 would rest on:
requires Member States:                                                          • the development of knowledge based disaster prevention
                                                                                     policies at all levels of government
•   to assess the flooding risk                                                  • linking the relevant actors and policies throughout the disaster
•   to map the flood extent and humans at risks                                      management cycle
•   to take adequate and coordinated measures to reduce flood risk               • improving the effectiveness of existing policy instruments with
                                                                                     regard to disaster prevention.
Member States are required to first carry out a preliminary
assessment by 2011 to identify the river basins and associated                  Concretely, the European Commission proposes for instance the
coastal areas at risk of flooding. For such zones they would then               creation of an inventory of information on disasters, the development
need to draw up flood risks maps by 2013 and establish flood                    of guidelines on hazard and risk mapping, or the reinforcement of
management plans focused on prevention, protection and                          international cooperation in the field of prevention.5
preparedness by 2015. The Directive applies to inland waters as well
as all coastal waters across the whole territory of the EU.                     EU Funding possibilities for flood-related projects

Although their role is not clearly defined, the Directive also                  There is a certain number of possibilities to get EU funding for flood-
underlines the significance of regions in the assessment and                    related projects, in particular through:
management of flood risks:
                                                                                •   Structural and cohesion funds
“In accordance with the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity
(…), and in view of existing capabilities of Member States,                     4
                                                                                  European Parliament and Council, Directive 2007/60/EC on the assessment and
considerable flexibility should be left to the local and regional levels,       management of flood risks, 23 October 2007
                                                                                  European Commission, COM(2009)82 on a Community approach on the
                                                                                prevention of natural and man-made disasters, 23 February 2009
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•   The Common Agricultural Policy, which includes support for agri-                   Establ ish ing Region al Guid elin es
    environmental measures as rural development projects and
    which can this way contribute to flood-related projects.
•   A number of pre-accession funds such as SAPARD can provide
    funding for flood-related projects.
•   European Union Solidarity Fund can come to the aid of any
    Member State in the event of a major natural disaster.
•   The LIFE programme can fund implementation projects.                                        Flood Causation

EU Research programmes and Floods

The issue of Flood is also integrated in EU research programmes. In                          Prevention & Planning
its FP7 Cooperation Work Programme 2009 on Environment, EUR
13 million are dedicated to natural hazards, with an emphasise put
on research on climate and meteorological related hazards (wild
fires, drought, urban floods).
The issue of floods and in particular the sustainable development of                               Response
coastal cities is also addressed under the “Conservation and
sustainable management of natural and man-made resources and
biodiversity” sub-activity.
Finally, the FP7 Cooperation Work Programme 2009 foresees EUR                                Crisis Communication
27 million for Environmental technologies. Under this topic, some
focused actions will address mitigation of flood risk, for instance in
the area of “Construction technologies” or “built environment”6.
                                                                                           Cleaning-up and Insurance

  European Commission, FP7 Cooperation Work Programme 2009: Environment
(including climate change)
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                                             Flood Cau satio n                      flooding. This flood had been predicted, and inhabitants had
                                                                                    been evacuated.

                                                                                •   Failures in dams, levees, retention ponds or other structures
Before undertaking activities of flood prevention, regions should
                                                                                    meant to contain the water and prevent floods also have an
assess to which flooding risk they are exposed.
                                                                                    impact on flood control and complicate the regional situation.
Numerous factors affect streamflow, and therefore the potential for
                                                                                It is interesting to note that according to the factor causing floods in
                                                                                your region, the methods used to reduce or prevent the detrimental
•   Heavy precipitation is responsible for most of the floods, when
                                                                                effects of floods waters can differ.
    the ponds, lakes, riverbeds, soil and vegetation cannot absorb all
                                                                                Finally, the damages caused by floods can be aggravated by some
    the water. These intense rainfalls often result in flash floods, a
                                                                                elements, such as the population density in risk areas or deficient
    flood that rises rapidly, with little or no advance warning.
                                                                                urban planning.
    E.g.: In Boscastle (Cornwall-UK) in August 2004, 8 inches of rain
    fell over the Valency river valley in 24 hours, the majority of it in
    the first 5 hours.

    The risk of flash floods is reinforced when heavy precipitation is
    concentrated over a relatively small area, or if the area was
    already saturated from previous precipitation.

•   Even when rainfall is relatively light, the shorelines of lakes and
    bays can be flooded by severe winds that blow water into the
    shore areas, exceeding the capacity of the shoreline to contain
    the water. 7

•   Coastal areas are sometimes flooded by unusually high tides
    induced by strong winds over the ocean surfaces.

    E.g.: In October 2005, the south coast of the region of Cornwall
    experienced the highest tides of 2004, leading to coastal
                                                                                                        Flash Flood, Cornwall (UK)

  “Flood Control”, MSN Encarta, 2008,
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                             Prevention & Pl anni ng                           •   Risk mapping – Geographic Information System (GIS)

                                                                               The first step for a region to be prepared to face the flooding risk is
                                                                               certainly to know to which risks its territories are exposed. Risk
•   Spatial Planning                                                           mapping is one of the most common tools. It consists in drawing a
                                                                               map adding up diverse information on:
Spatial planning is the coordination and long-term control of activities            o Hazards,
with spatial impact, and a necessary ingredient of urban and rural                  o People at risk,
development.                                                                        o Infrastructure (roads, housing, important building, camp
Spatial planning strategies to prevent environmental disasters and                      sites).
floods can also be implemented at the regional level, for instance:            This implies collecting comparable data over years but proves to be
      o conducting assessment framework and classifying areas                  practical to then classify municipalities according to risk for instance.
          according to flood risk (“non-development land”)                     Including the time factor when drawing a map can also be useful as
      o choosing suitable location and spaces of future settlement             floods can be different according to the time of the year at which they
          developments apart from river valleys, natural areas and             occur.
          unstable slopes
      o developing urban regulations, and adapting existing

E.g.: One-floor buildings must have a roof accessible from the inside.

      o   assessing the impact of agriculture and land use, reducing
          soil sealing
      o   favouring interior urban development (reactivation of brown
          field sites, mobilisation of “gap” sites, reuse of urban
          wasteland and vacant buildings)
      o   promoting the cooperation between urban and rural areas
          in the fields of settlement, infrastructure and protection of
          the environment
      o   elaborating integrated planning strategies with social and
          environmental aspects in addition to town, infrastructure
                                                                                                      Risk mapping in Catalunya (SP) –
          and traffic planning
                                                                                               Classification of municipalities according to risk
      o   enhancing vegetating and safeguarding the open spaces
          within the urban areas
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•   Prevision – The development of early warning systems                    Involving your region in INTERREG projects can also be a good way
                                                                            to start cross-border cooperation in flood prevention.
Many AER regions are developing their own early warning system.
The region of Catalunya (SP) developed an early warning system              •   Education, information campaigns
with warning thresholds depending on rain forecast. Levels are
determined according to the intensity and accumulation of rain,             Because of the –fortunately- low frequency of catastrophic events
enabling the authorities to prepare adequately.                             and of the difficulty of predicting their spatial occurrence, keeping
In the Açores (P), the Geographic Information System regroups the           awareness raised is probably the most challenging task for the
Seismic, meteorological and hydrological network in a single                regions. Public education and information campaigns can help
platform which coordinates the results.                                     improving the understanding individuals have of the risks associated
                                                                            with hazards such as floods.
                                                                            For instance, the city of Edmonton in Canada developed a program
•   Establishing cross-border cooperation on a long-term basis              designed to provide its homeowners with information on how to
                                                                            protect their homes from flooding and the measures taken by the city
Effective communication across institutional and disciplinary borders       about flooding. Education information has been distributed via
is often identified as a factor of success for flood prevention             handouts and brochures and through public information
strategies.                                                                 meetings, public consultations and preventative plumbing
Establishing cross-border cooperation can also be a good way to             workshops. 8
make prevention measures more cost-effective. For effective and
efficient common actions:                                                   Providing specialists and volunteers with training is part of the
     o Cooperation should be developed on a long-term basis                 SAFER project to which the Timis region (RO) is collaborating.
     o Regional cross-border flood risk awareness campaigns can
          be initiated                                                      •   Regulation
     o List the actors involved with water management on both
          sides of the frontier                                             Regions confronted with floods should also be able to anticipate the
     o Catalogue resources on each side of the border                       legal and funding issues they will have to face in case of an
     o Check compatibility of equipment                                     emergency. Therefore, it is a good idea to consider the creation of
     o Concretize your cooperation in cross-border agreements               legal proceedings for the acquisition of materials, equipments and
          (E.g.: SP/P)                                                      employee costs before the emergency occurs.
     o Set up regional and cross-border centres for prevention and

The notion of “common interest” is at the root of cross border
cooperation. A participatory and transparent approach is also vital.        8 City of Edmonton,
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                                                Resp onse               •   Coordinate the different actors
                                                                              o Fire brigade
                                                                              o Police: traffic and security
To increase regions preparedness to floods, it is necessary to                o Emergency medical system
implement good prevention and planning strategies. A lot of work              o A bit later: volunteers
should therefore be done before the actual emergency.

However, regional best practices also exist when responding to an
emergency. For the regions, this is the stage of mobilisation and
coordination. Here are a few suggestions about how you can best
manage the response to a flood emergency.

•   Develop your capacity to mobilise response means quickly
       o Infrastructure
       o Technical means (helicopters, lorries)
       o Human resources (professionals, volunteers)

                                                                                                    Timis (RO)

                                                                        • Set up of an Emergency Operation Centre
                                                                        It will receive requests for assistance and help for response
                                                                        coordination and liaison between the actors involved in emergency

                                                                        •   Manage the relations with the population
                                                                              o Informs and Gives practical advice to people and families
                                                                              o Identify and inform about the evacuation possibilities
                           Cornwall (UK)
                                                                        •   Maintaining power and water supplies
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                             Cri si s Co mmuni catio n                                           Cleani ng -up an d In suran ce

•   Coordination of first responders (fire brigades, police, emergency        During the Emergency Planning meeting in Limoges (Limousin-FR),
    teams, health professionals)                                              the issue of cleaning-up and insurance was not addressed in depth.
•   Effective communication: co-operation and co-ordination across            If your region has experience or ideas to share about how to deal
    institutional and disciplinary boundaries                                 practically with the consequences of floods, do not hesitate to
•   Attribute responsibilities BEFORE the flooding                            contact us.
                                                                              In the meantime, here are a few ideas and questions for further
•   Practical tools:                                                          thinking:
       o For the organisation and coordination of emergency
           teams BEFORE the emergency: telephone conference                   •   Set a Recovery Group for the coordination of efforts
       o For communication with the municipalities: emails, faxes             •   Identify solutions for:
       o For communication with the population: emails, SMS                               o Housing dislocated populations
                                                                                          o Re-establishing transport and communication
•   Articulate the regional strategy with the one of other levels of                         infrastructure
    governance. Thus, the Pitt review recommends the clarification                        o Responding to the environmental impact
    of the role of Government departments
                                                                              •   Insurance
•   Manage the communication with the media (co-ordination,                             o Who pays for what?
    interactions, selection of spoke persons)                                           o How do you collect and store information after the

                                                                              Clean-up activities following floods often pose hazards to workers
                                                                              and volunteers involved in the effort. Potential dangers include
                                                                              electrical hazards, musculoskeletal hazards, heat or cold stress,
                                              Media coverage,                 motor vehicle-related dangers, fire, drowning and exposure to
                                              Cornwall (UK)                   hazardous materials.

                                                                              Flooded disaster sites are unstable and clean-up workers might
                                                                              encounter sharp jagged debris, biological hazards in the flood water,
                                                                              be exposed to electrical lines, blood, animal and human remains…

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Planning for and reacting to flood disasters also mean that regional                                          Some Con clu sion s,
managers should be able provide workers with appropriate
equipment, such as life jackets, watertight boots with steel toes or                                            Some Challenges
heavy work gloves. 9
                                                                            •   It is important to keep in mind that if floods and droughts have
                                                                                far-reaching socio-economic and environmental applications,
                                                                                they are a normal component of natural climate variability.

                                                                                Following this line of thinking, the World Meteorological
                                                                                Organisation and the Global Water Partnership developed
                                                                                “Integrated Flood Management”, a concept promoting the co-
                                                                                ordinated development and management of water, land and
                                                                                related resources in order to maximize the net benefits from flood
                                                                                plains and minimize loss to life from flooding. According to
                                                                                Integrated Flood Management, “a single intervention has
                                                                                implications for a system as a whole”, and conversely, “multiple
                                                                                benefits may be achieved from a single intervention”.

                                                                            •   As absolute safety and the elimination of flood risks seems
                                                                                unrealistic, it may be judicious to elaborate regional strategies
                                                                                that do not only on flood prevention but also on flood
                                                                                management and mitigation.

                                                                            •   In addition, looking at the experience of our member regions, we
                                Berkshire (UK)
                                                                                note that the majority of the work to face floods consists of
                                                                                preparation and organisation of response means and has to
                                                                                be done before the emergency. As to the response phase, it is
                                                                                “only” coordination?

                                                                            •   In establishing a regional plan to face floods, it is necessary to
                                                                                remember that there is no universal solution, and only specific
  “Flood Control”, MSN Encarta, 2008,
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                                                                                               Mo re Abou t P reven ting Flo ods

•   Keeping awareness raised is probably the most challenging task
                                                                                 Agence de l’eau Loire-Bretagne, Face au risque d’inondation,
    for the regions. A second challenge is educating the population
                                                                                 élaborez votre plan familial de mise en sécurité (PFMS), March
    to reach a certain level of private responsibility and self-reliance.
    This could hopefully lead to a minimisation of the human risk in
                                                                                 The water Agency Loire-Bretagne published a handbook conceived
    case of flood.
                                                                                 to help private individuals living in floodplains in the Loire region to
                                                                                 face flood emergencies. (in French only)
•   Establishing strategies on the long term is also a challenge for
    regional authorities. However, taking climate change into account
    is a necessity in flood management.
                                                                                 Centre Européen de Prévention du Risque d’Inondation
                                                                                 European Centre for Flood Prevention
                                                                                 CEPRI is a competence centre for flood risk prevention, with a
                                                                                 French and European vocation, and for the purpose of local and
                                                                                 public authorities. (in French only)

                                                                                 Devon County Council, MSC Napoli, The aftermath of the
                                                                                 beaching – Report of an inquiry, January 2007

                                                                                 European Environment Agency
                                                                                 On the website of the European Environment Agency you can find
                                                                                 their last activities and reports on floods, along with some interesting
                                                                                 maps and graphs.

                      Premià de Mar, Catalunya (SP)                              EXCIMAP – Guide of Good Practices of Flood Mapping in
                                                                                 In 2006-2007 a group called "EXCIMAP" (European Exchange Circle
                                                                                 on Flood Mapping"), operating under a mandate from the Water
                                                                                                                                            AER Committee 2 Secretariat
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Directors and composed of flood mapping experts from most EU       
Member States, reviewed current flood mapping practices in Europe.           camp03-kit-eng.htm
This resulted in the production of a Handbook of good practices in           Joint Research Centre
flood mapping, an as part of that an Atlas of Flood Maps, with               The Joint Research Centre is a research based policy support
examples from 19 European countries, USA and Japan.                          organisation and an integral part of the European Commission. The         JRC is providing the scientific advice and technical know-how to
dbook_goodpractice.pdf                                                       support a wide range of EU policies.
Flood Awareness and Prevention Policy in Border Areas
(FLAPP)                                                                      Kötter Theo, Prevention of Environmental Disasters by Spatial
FLAPP is a EU-funded network through which local and regional                Planning and Land Management, 2003
flood experts from across Europe share knowledge and experience              This paper delivers an analyse of the inter- relation between
about how to prevent and forecast floods, inform people and limit the        environmental catastrophes and regional development and points
damage when floods happen. The project operated from January                 out the strategies and instruments of spatial planning and land
2005 until August 2007. During the project, FLAPP issued a certain           management to support the prevention hazards.
number of recommendations addressed to the EU, the national or     
the regional and local governments.                                                                Pitt, Michael, The Pitt Review: Lessons learned from the 2007
Integrated Flood Management                                                  Sir Michael Pitt was asked by the British government to conduct an
IFM is a concept developed by the World Meteorological                       independent review of the flooding emergency that took place in
Organisation and the Global Water Partnership and aims to promote            June and July 2007. The Pitt Review assesses what happened and
the co-ordinated development and management of water, land and               what we might do differently.
related resources in order to maximize the net benefits from flood 
plains and minimize loss to life from flooding.                              .html
                                                                             Risk Management Solutions, Central Europe Flooding, August
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, Turning the tide              2002
on disasters towards sustainable development - 2003 World                    This report summarizes research into the causes of flooding and
Disaster Reduction Campaign                                                  resulting damage, focusing on a case study of Prague where RMS
The 2003 World Disaster Reduction Campaign looked at how to                  conducted a damage survey.
cope with water-related hazards and developed very interesting     
guidelines and material to raise awareness among decision-makers             paper_final.pdf
and the public.

                                                                                                                                         AER Committee 2 Secretariat
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United Nations and Economic Commission for Europe (UN/CE),
Best practices on flood prevention, protection and mitigation,

The Water Information System for Europe (WISE)
This website gathers compiles a number of data and information on
water issues, collected at EU level by various institutions and bodies.

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