While floods are natural, there is nothing natural about their disastrous consequences. Repeated floods undermine societies’ and economies’ potential to develop. We easily think of these events as happening in other places to other people but when looking closer, the reason for these disastrous consequences are surprisingly similar in both developing and developed countries.
With the launch of a global flood resilience program in 2013, the Zurich Insurance Group set out on a journey to use our risk management expertise to examine how we can learn from successes and failures from past flood events, to take action to improve for the future.
Well designed, maintained and monitored physical infrastructures such as dams, levees and coastal defenses offer effective flood protection. But there is caveat. If not well managed, they cannot only accelerate the disastrous consequences of a flood in the short term, but also increase flood risks in the long-term by giving a false sense of security for people behind the protection. Furthermore, it is important to consider “green” infrastructure as a first line of defense. The use of green infrastructure to manage flood waters such as reforestation in the upper watershed, static and controlled flood water retention areas is found to be highly effective. In addition, park-like areas are particularly efficient at managing flood waters and which also have the co-benefit of being recreational areas during non-flood times. –(2016) by Linda Freiner for Huffpost Impact.
NewTerrain February 15, 2016.