4th International Conference on Flood Recovery, Innovation and Response
18–20 June 2014
The 4th International Conference on Flood Recovery, Innovation and Response (FRIAR) took place in Poznan, organised by the University of the West of England, represented by Prof David Proverbs, and the Wessex Institute of Technology, represented by Prof Carlos A Brebbia.
FRIAR 2014 is the fourth conference in this successful series. The meeting started at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London (2008) and reconvened at the Lombardy Region Headquarters in Milano (2010), followed by a meeting in Dubrovnik in 2012.
Flooding is a global phenomenon that claims numerous lives worldwide each year. When flooding occurs in populated areas it can cause substantial damage to property as well as threatening human life. In addition, many more people must endure the homelessness, upset and disruption that are felt in the wake of floods. The increased frequency of flooding in the last few years, coupled with climate change predictions and urban development, suggests that these problems are set to worsen in the future.
Apart from the physical damage to buildings, contents and loss of life, which are the most obvious aspects of floods upon households, other more indirect losses are often overlooked. These indirect impacts are generally associated with disruption to normal life as well as long term health issues, including stress related illness. Flooding represents in many cases a major barrier to the alleviation of poverty in many parts of the world, where vulnerable communities are exposed to sudden and life threatening events.
Opening of the Conference
The Conference was opened by Prof Brebbia who referred to the importance of the series for the Wessex Institute, whose primary function is to disseminate knowledge at an international level.
The Institute – Carlos said – carries out research in computational models and their application in engineering and sciences. It developed the boundary element method, in particular, as a practical design tool for a variety of problems, ranging from offshore engineering to aerospace, automotive problems, acoustics and many others.
In addition, its publishing arm – WIT Press – has a very active programme publishing a substantial number of books – including the conference proceedings – as well as a series of international journals; the closest associated to this conference being the International Journal of Safety and Security Engineering.
The conference papers presented at FRIAR 2014 are published in Volume 184 of the WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, which ensures the maximum worldwide dissemination in digital and hard copy formats. They are also archived online in the WIT eLibrary (http://library.witpress.com/), where they are immediately and permanently available to the international community.
Carlos ended by thanking the delegates for attending the conference and wishing them a very successful meeting. He then introduced Prof Konrad Domke from the Technical University of Poznan’s School of Engineering, who welcomed the participants to the city and read a letter by the Mayor of Poznan which referred to the importance of flooding for the region and the interest of Poznan in promoting this type of scientific meeting. The city particularly welcomes international delegates who can bring their expertise to solve problems of great practical importance.
The conference opened with a series of invited presentations:
- “A new approach for flood forecasting of river flows”, by Magdy Mohssen, Lincoln University, New Zealand.
- “Future agricultural water demand under climate change in Saskatchewan, Canada”, by Suren Kulshreshtha, University of Saskatchewan, Canada.
- “The impact of flooding on small and medium sized enterprises”, by David Proverbs, The University of the West of England, UK.
A special session organised by Prof Molinari consisted of three papers on the topic of “State of the Art on flood damage survey and assessment”:
- “Implementing tools to meet the floods directive requirements: A procedure for collect, storage and manage damage data in the aftermath of floods events”, by Daniela Molinari, Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
- “Flood damage survey after major flood in Norway 2013 – cooperation between the insurance business and a government agency”.
- “A practical approach to floodplain mapping for large-scale catastrophe models”.
Another excellent session on “Property-level flooding and health consequences” was organised by Dr Colin Booth from the University of the West of England, and consisted of two invited presentations:
- “Improving the uptake of flood risk adaptation measures for domestic properties in an insurance regime under transition”, by David Proverbs, University of the West of England, UK.
- “Waterproofing basement apartments: technical insights of a new flood protection solution”, by David Beddoes, University of the West of England, UK.
These presentations were followed by another four papers:
- “An investigation of patterns of response and recovery among flood affected businesses in the UK: Case study in Sheffield and Wakefield area”.
- “Resilient reinstatement – what can we learn from the 2007 flooding in England?”
- “The role of flood memory in the impact of repeat flooding on mental health”.
- “The long term health impacts resulting from repeated flooding”.
There were many occasions for the delegates to interact and hold discussions in a friendly environment. In addition to coffee breaks and complimentary lunches they were offered a complimentary excursion to see some places of interest which helped the delegates to become better acquainted with each other. The guided excursion took them to the Kornik Castle, a well know location in the Wielkopolski region, originally built by the Gorka and Działyński family in the XVI-XVII century and redeveloped by successive generations. The delegates were shown some of the antique books and maps preserved in the library of the castle, which include some hand written and illustrated manuscripts on vellum, as well as one of the oldest deeds in Poland. The library was built by one of the Dzialynski family members, many of whom added different collections to the castle. Of special interest were the ancient suits of armour, dating from the XVth century and including some of those worn by the famous “winged” Polish horseman during the wars in west Ukraine and Eastern Europe. The knowledge of the guide and the beautiful setting added to the enjoyable excursion.
Conference Dinners and Closing of the Conference
The conference banquet took place in a restaurant renowned for its cuisine, located in one of the oldest houses in the Market Square. The house, originally belonging to a merchant family, has private dining facilities, and offered an excellent cuisine. The main dish was roasted duck for which Poznan is famous. This was accompanied by good wines. The banquet was very friendly with a series of toasts, including one to Prof Konrad Domke from the Technical University of Poznan, for his help in arranging the conference and welcoming the delegates to his beautiful city.
The International Scientific Advisory Committee met over dinner to discuss ways of improving the meeting in future in 2016. New members were also nominated and those selected will receive a letter of invitation shortly.
The meeting was closed by Carlos and David who thanked the delegates for their presence and hoped to see them in 2016.
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 184 of WIT Transactions on the Ecology and the Environment (ISSN: 1746-448X, Digital ISSN 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com