Turning flood resilience theory into action

Communities at risk of repeated floods need to increase their resilience. But finding the best way to do this is not always easy. A new study by a member of our flood resilience alliance explains how to choose the best methods to raise the likelihood of success.

Floods, which affect more people than any other type of natural disaster, are an increasingly costly hazard. As populations grow and more people live in cities, the assets at risk have increased.

It is a common feature of floods that most of the available resources go toward responding once a disaster has already struck. This is unfortunate, as it is far more cost-effective to reduce risks ahead of time: some experts estimate that for every dollar spent on risk reduction, five dollars can be saved in averting potential losses.

The right approach to increasing resilience is one that makes the best use of resources within individual communities. As a member of Zurich’s flood resilience alliance, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), together with non-governmental aid organization Practical Action, have developed processes that make it easier to analyze, assess and increase resilience based on these resources. In a new paper, IIASA describes the main elements of this method.

The ideas presented are based on real-life experience in communities where we are helping to support flood resilience efforts. As part of this work, flood resilience alliance members are also compiling a ‘solutions catalogue’ that will be publicly available as a resource to communities worldwide.


risk nexus september 2015 turning knowledge into action cover



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