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Virginia Tech participates in water crisis research collaborative sponsored by Dutch government

For the past three years, the Virginia Tech Center for Community Security and Resilience has been part of a collaborative network of Dutch and American universities and institutes looking at lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and subsequent insights and research to determine how they might be applicable to flood risks in The Netherlands. US Water Crisis Research Network (NUWCReN), funded by the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, includes three other U.S. university centers: The George Washington University Institute for Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management, University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center, and the University of Delaware Disaster Research Center; and four Dutch research centers: Wageningen University, COT Institute for Safety and Crisis Management, TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) and Deltares.

The NUWCReN was tasked with establishing a network of individuals and institutions to generate and share knowledge in support of Dutch crisis and disaster management issues; identifying areas for additional research; and initiating innovative collaborative research with a focus on operational implementation together with stakeholders.

Harrald (left) presents copy of Flood preparedness in The Netherlands, a US perspective to Feringo

“During our three years of working together we have held a number of workshops and symposiums focusing on how to reduce damage, casualties, and social disruption during water-related crisis situations,” said Jack Harrald, research professor and director of the Virginia Tech Center for Community Security and Resilience. “We also continually shared experiences gained from observing actual events and exercises. And together we participated in the first catastrophic flooding drill held in The Netherlands.”

The result of this collaboration linking American and Dutch research institutes is a book entitled Flood preparedness in The Netherlands, a US perspective, which contains a series of articles addressing various aspects of the Hurricane Katrina disaster and comparing U.S. and Dutch approaches to flood crisis management. During the NUWCReN’s final meeting recently in the Netherlands, Harrald presented a copy of the book to Roel Feringo, deputy minister and director, Water for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment.

Harrald and Greg Shaw, associate professor and co-director of the Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management at The George Washington University, co-authored the chapter, “Public/Private Partnerships for Flood and All Hazards Emergency and Disaster Management: The United States Experience – Lessons Learned and Best Practices.” This chapter discusses past and ongoing efforts within the United States to develop and sustain public/private partnership to support all phases of Comprehensive Emergency Management (CEM): mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

“The book presents a number of conclusions and recommendations which should prove valuable to the Dutch government in formulating plans for flood prevention and response,” said Harrald.

Posted 3/15/2012