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05/23/2016

Dr Philip Ward awarded VIDI grant to examine the socioeconomic impacts of compound river and coastal floods

Dr Philip Ward has been awarded a prestigious VIDI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to examine the socioeconomic impacts of compound river and coastal floods around the world.

In the past years, he has developed the world’s first global river flood risk model (GLOFRIS), and has recently co-developed a global coastal flood risk model. With the VIDI grant, Ward will examine the impacts for people, societies, and the economy, when coastal and river floods occur at the same time. Ward: “A lot of the large flood disasters occur when both river and sea-levels are high – the resulting floods can be much worse than when these processes occur individually. For example, this was the case during the Bangkok floods of 2011, which led to billions of Euros of damage. This study will allow us to gain a much better understanding of how these so-called ‘compound floods’ can influence risk”.

The research will be carried out by Dr Ward and his team in the Global Water and Climate Risk programme of IVM’s Water and Climate Risk department. The grant will allow Dr Ward to extend his research team with two PhD students and a postdoctoral researcher.

The grant is timely. Last week, Dr Ward organised a session on compound natural hazards at the World Bank GFDRR’s Understanding Risk 2016 Forum in Venice, together with Deltares and the European Union’s Joint Research Centre. Ward: “In this session, we brought together scientists, decision-makers, and policy-makers working on compound hazards and risks, not only from the field of flooding, but also in the fields of volcanology and seismology. We found that these research communities are grappling with the same kinds of issues that we face – this event allowed us to start building a community to tackle this research question in the next 5-10 years”.

The importance of the issue for society is clear. Dr Ward will collaborate on the project with several users, including the World Bank GFDRR, the World Resources Institute, Munich Re, Aspen Re, and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.

Vidi Philip Ward

“The Domino Effect”: Dr Ward and colleagues led a session on compound risks at World Bank GFDRR’s Understanding Risk 2016 Forum in Venice.

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