UCL Earth Sciences

Facing the Floods

30 May 2014

The Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre (ABUHC) has launched a new initiative for visualizing the risk from major floods

Floods ABUHC

Figure Caption: The Mekong river flowing through Phnom-Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The river floods almost every year and in 2011 affected more than 1.2 million people. (Photo: R.J. Wall.)

Stephen Edwards and Richard Wall are developing enhanced methods for visualising and assessing the risk from flooding in Cambodia by uniting the resources of the humanitarian-development and insurance-reinsurance sectors. Cambodia has been selected for forensic analysis because it has suffered major floods almost every year for the past 30 years, at a cost of 14% GDP. The results portray the exposure of communities on a bespoke GIS platform by integrating population and flood data to provide a rapid and simple tool for visualising risk, both for anticipating a hazardous event and for responding to a crisis. The method will also provide a template for evaluating the risk from natural hazards in general. The project is funded through the NERC programme on Probability, Uncertainty and Risk in the Environment (PURE) and is being run in collaboration with the reinsurance brokers Aon Benfield and the NGO CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development).