Flooding Simulation in The Hague to Test 5 Crisis Management Solutions
Thursday, May 02, 2019 | Comments

Five solutions will be assessed in an exaggerated flooding scenario in The Hague 22 – 23 May as part of a two-day tabletop trial under the Driving Innovation in Crisis Management for European Resilience (DRIVER+) project. With the participation of practitioners from the police, fire service, medical services, municipality, military, the water board and electricity company, and public transport, as well as international organizations such as EUROPOL, EUROJUST and the International Court of Justice, the event will assess crisis management solutions in Europe.

Since 1997, there have been 23 serious floods in Europe, resulting in no less than 802 fatalities. Going back 66 years, the North Sea Flood of 1953 killed more than 2,551 people and flooded 9% of all Dutch farmland. In total 1,836 fatalities occurred in the Netherlands alone, and the impact of this particular disaster is still felt today. With the effects of climate change and the ever-present threat of sea level rise, the Dutch are leading the way in water and flood management and have been consistently implementing new solutions to prepare against potential disastrous scenarios.

DRIVER+ is a European Union (EU)-funded project helping crisis management practitioners find the best ways to address disasters that require complex responses. All DRIVER+ trials are prepared, executed and evaluated in line with the trial guidance methodology (TGM) with the support of the test bed infrastructure and the trial guidance tool (TGT). These three closely linked components were developed to assist trial organizers in conducting a simulated crisis as realistically as possible. The results of the assessment of the solutions are then stored in the DRIVER+ portfolio of solutions (PoS), an open online database, which also contains valuable information on other existing solutions that are available.

The Netherlands trial will assess a number of solutions designed to improve crisis management capabilities by recognizing the interaction between people and technology and address shortcomings in three specific areas:
• Planning resources in the context of large-scale and long-term crises
• The ability to exchange crisis-related information between various agencies and organizations (interoperability)
• Planning and managing large-scale evacuations of population in urban areas, including the management of the side effects such evacuations can cause

The five selected solutions are: • 3DI from Nelen & Schuurmans, a hydrodynamic simulation software for inundation caused by heavy rainfall, overflowing rivers or coastal flooding;
• ZKI & KEEPOPERATIONAL from DLR, which provides up-to-date situational awareness information such as satellite or aerial imagery, as well as geodata while providing fast and seamless exchange of relevant information for traffic management and logistics operations;
• CrisisSuite from MerlinCrisis delivers a common operational picture for those crisis teams not having direct access to the Dutch crisis management system (LCMS);
• HUMLOG from the University of Münster, an adaptable simulation environment for discrete event-based and agent-based simulations; and
• SIM-CI from SIM-CI, which creates a digital visualization of the disaster and shows the cascading effects on critical infrastructure and utility networks.

The scenario involves a simulated lock breach, caused by severe weather conditions. A large part of The Hague city center will be flooded as a result, damaging infrastructure and threatening a large portion of the city’s inhabitants. Cascading effects will include power outage, flooded roads and railway infrastructure, threatening the population in the affected areas.

A crisis of this scales requires the deployment of additional emergency services to deal with an increasing number of exposed people, as well as to manage all the cascading effects. Stakeholders from every crisis management level will play an important part in the trial and will take actions in a simulated environment that uses realistic information, based on available assets and resources, crisis management plans, rescue procedures and good practices of participants.

Throughout the trial, the socio-technical solutions will be evaluated to see if they can improve the response for practitioners and the other crisis management experts involved.

A total of four DRIVER+ trials and a final demonstration will take place within the project’s life span, actively involving crisis management practitioners to identify and assess innovative solutions that could potentially meet their expectations and cover a series of pre-identified gaps. The two first trials were conducted in Poland and France last year, while the final trial will take place in Austria in September.

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