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Early warning and mass evacuation in coastal cities
Hissel, F.; Morel, G.; Pescaroli, G.; Graaff, H.; Felts, D.; Pietrantoni, L. (2014). Early warning and mass evacuation in coastal cities. Coast. Eng. 87: 193-204.
In: Coastal Engineering: An International Journal for Coastal, Harbour and Offshore Engineers. Elsevier: Amsterdam; Lausanne; New York; Oxford; Shannon; Tokyo. ISSN 0378-3839, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Early warning; Mass evacuation; Disaster management; Storm; Flood

Project Top | Authors 
  • Innovative coastal technologies for safer European coasts in a changing climate, more

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    The FP7 Theseus research project (2009–2013) aims to develop and assess innovative technologies and methodologies for coastal protection against erosion, flooding and environmental damages. While protection structures may help to reduce the level of hazard and the expected degree of loss, some danger of technical failures or human errors will always remain. For extreme events, the implementation of non-structural measures as early warning systems and disaster management practices is required to ensure the protection of population.During Theseus, a methodology for helping the local authorities to prepare an action plan in case of coastal flooding was developed and tested on the estuary of Gironde in France. The methodology builds over the return of experience from past events and tries to clearly identify all the stages of an evacuation and the thinking process that can lead to a robust evacuation plan. It relies on a conceptual framework – SADT – which helps to understand how data should be processed from its collection to its use in the plan. The risk scenarios were calculated for current and future conditions of the XXIst century, taking into account the effects of climate change. The methodology is supported by the OSIRIS software, prototyped during the FP5 eponymous project and later distributed by CETMEF and the French basin authorities of Loire and Meuse.The methodology for the preparation of evacuation plans was applied on a pilot city of Theseus, Bordeaux on the estuary of Gironde (France), and the software used to calculate evacuation times was tried out on Cesenatico near the Adriatic coast (Italy). This comparison verified the replicability of methodological guidelines in two different European contexts. The cultural and organizational differences and the different number of people involved underlined strong questions to be addressed when applying them. In order to assess the efficiency of an evacuation strategy and to compute the number of people successfully evacuated over time, a macroscopic model (not representing each individual vehicle but only flows of vehicles in congestion points) for the simulation of traffic congestion was used, based on the work of the University of Twente, Rijkswaterstaat and INFRAM. This model will be integrated in the Theseus decision support system for helping coastal managers to select their strategy for risk mitigation.

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