Finding new ways of improving flood resilience

In July 2013 we included two research institutions in our flood resilience alliance; the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), a non-governmental research organization based in Austria and the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S.

Backed by a commitment of up to USD 3.2 million over five years, we work with our research alliance members to better understand, measure and reduce flood risk and make the case for pre-event mitigation. Our researchers are actively engaged in community programs to develop enhanced cost-benefit analyses and other decision-making tools, allowing us to implement the solutions that are most appropriate for individual communities. They also take the role of insurance and other risk transfer mechanisms into consideration when making the case for pre-event risk management.

Enhancing community flood resilience: a way forward

Floods cause more damage worldwide to human life and property than any other type of natural disaster. Many of the efforts to address flooding so far have been focused on recovery. To reduce flood losses and help communities in both developed and developing countries to improve flood resilience, it is imperative that we focus more on mitigating risks and preparing for floods, rather than simply dealing with the consequences after a flood occurs. This brief provides insights into ways this might be done.

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The role of cost-benefit analysis

It is important to weigh the benefits of protecting against floods relative to the costs. A study by the Zurich flood resilience alliance looks at ways to approach this issue. Along with real-life examples, it explains why 'intangibles' like culture and social bonds must be included in any equation if protection efforts are to succeed.

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Why many individuals lack flood protection

By looking at how direct federal disaster aid affects insurance buying, the Wharton School’s Risk Center, part of Zurich’s flood resilience alliance, takes a new approach to understanding individuals’ attitudes toward protection and risk. Beyond looking at how U.S. aid has affected homeowners’ demand for insurance, the study also finds that many people in correctly estimate the cost of damage if their home is flooded.

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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 the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), part of Zurich's flood resilience alliance, explains how to choose the best methods to raise the likelihood of success.

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