Flood risk mapping worldwide : a flexible methodology and toolbox

Abstract

Flood risk assessments predict the potential consequences of flooding, leading to more effective risk management and strengthening resilience. However, adequate assessments rely on large quantities of high-quality input data. Developing regions lack reliable data or funds to acquire them. Therefore, this research has developed a flexible, low-cost methodology for mapping flood hazard, vulnerability and risk. A generic methodology was developed and customized for freely available data with global coverage, enabling risk assessment worldwide. The default workflow can be enriched with region-specific information when available. The practical application is assured by a modular toolbox developed on GDAL and PCRASTER. This toolbox was tested for the catchment of the river Moustiques, Haiti, for which several flood hazard maps were developed. Then, the toolbox was used to create social, economic and physical vulnerability maps. These were combined with the hazard maps to create the three corresponding flood risk maps. After creating these with the default data, more detailed information, gathered during field work, was added to verify the results of the basic workflow. These first tests of the developed toolbox show promising results. The toolbox allows policy makers in developing countries to perform reliable flood risk assessments and generate the necessary maps

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