|| Institutes |
Period: September 2002 till September 2004
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- Provincie Zeeland, more, co-ordinator
- Provincie West-Vlaanderen, more
- Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen, more
- Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Milieu; Rijkswaterstaat; Dienst Zeeland (DZL), more
- Essex County Council, more
|Escape aims to minimise the effects of flooding situations in coastal areas, through improving contingency plans, increasing public awareness and developing systems for monitoring high water and evacuation possibilities.
2003 is the 50th anniversary of the North Sea storm surge in which 2164 people died in the Netherlands, UK and Belgium. While new flood defences have been constructed, there is still a need for a flexible and multi-functional contingency plan for the evacuation of local people and tourists in the event of flooding. “European Solutions by Co-operation And Planning in Emergencies (for coastal flooding)” (ESCAPE) aims to minimise the effect and consequences of flooding situations in the coastal areas of the whole of the North Sea region by contributing to spatial planning policies, risk management strategies, contingency plans and public awareness. ESCAPE looks at the consequences of flooding and seeks to reduce the consequences on the community, the economy and spatial development when flooding does occur.
The principle outcome is increased public awareness and knowledge about the risk of flooding, and greater understanding of the actions that need to be taken by the general public, scientists, and politicians during a flood event. This is to be achieved through the establishment of a transnational disaster management strategy for flooding situations in one or more of the coastal areas of the North Sea region. The strategy will include integrated national, regional or local contingency plans intended to reduce the effects of flooding disasters and will link the HIS (High Water Information System) and an evacuation model to provide a new and innovative approach to contingency plans and planning. Awareness raising will be carried out through the production of brochures, videos, a website and conferences. The ultimate success of ESCAPE will be the reduction in the impact of natural disasters and the loss of human life during flooding through improved policy and spatial and contingency planning.
ESCAPE is divided up into five separate actions. Action one will undertake the necessary start-up work and research, including a study and stocktaking, deliberation of necessary content, and development of transnational contingency plans in the event of flooding. Action two will see the development of common understandings, frameworks and models for general information to the public, the scientific world and politicians, awareness raising of the risks and specific information services in case of emergencies. Two conferences will be organised, using the 50th anniversary of the 1953 storm surge as an opportunity to promote the lessons learned from the previous flood. Action three will see the development of a coastal Highwater Information System (HIS) for virtual environments for preventive studies, vocational training of the services involved and trials with damage assessments. This will require the defining and construction of a transnational model, data collection, a pilot project carried out in the Zeeland and Flanders region and the presentation and dissemination of the model. Action four will see the development of a decision support system that can estimate the time required to evacuate a disaster area and that can suggest evacuation routes based on different inputs of data including demography, roadway inventory and weather conditions. Pilots will be carried out in Zeeland and Flanders and presentation and dissemination of the model will take place. Finally, Action five will see the evaluation of the HIS and ICT based evacuation system based on the work carried out in actions three and four, with further research carried out on their integration.
With the completion of the project close at hand, the project activities have entered into their final stage. The main results from the project include: a developed transnational framework for contingency plans; two flood awareness videos aimed for youth between 8 and 14 years and adults respectively; and a model for coastal Highwater Information System. A decision support system for evacuations in disaster areas is currently tested and is to be completed by the end of September 2004. The project partners are also researching the opportunities for integration of the Highwater Information System and the Decision Support System.