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Tuesday 10 Nov 2015Beyond ‘flood hotspots’: co-production of knowledge between academia and stakeholders for improved resilience of emergency response to flood disasters

Dr Dapeng Yu - Loughborough University

Harrison 170 14:30-15:30


Emergency responders such as the Fire & Rescue and Ambulance Services often face the challenging task of having to respond to or operate in dynamic weather conditions, including floods. In the UK, in order to meet government legislation and improve resilience of their operation, emergency responders, coordinated by Local Resilience Forums actively seek to identify areas which are most vulnerable to flooding, as well as the potential impacts of flood events on the critical infrastructure nodes and networks upon which their operations rely. This has been facilitated by the recent advances in flood modelling which provides countrywide publicly accessible flood risk mapping. Whilst in the possession of a wealth of data and abundant local knowledge, emergency responders often find it challenging to apply existing flood ‘hotspot’ data to assist strategic planning and operational response.

This abstract describes a recently completed project funded by the UK Natural Environment

Research Council, which combined an interdisciplinary team of researchers based at Loughborough University with a group of project partners working in the field of flood resilience within the City of Leicester, UK, to evaluate the resilience of emergency response during extreme flood events. One key piece of work which stakeholders found useful and effective was the accessibility of the city to emergency responders during extreme flooding. We go beyond what the stakeholders are already aware of in terms of direct impacts of flooding, i.e. the ‘hotspot’ areas which would directly become inundated, and highlights the indirect, cascading impacts of flood events of different magnitudes on emergency response times at the city-scale. This also provides stakeholders with useful information to implement strategic adaptation measures for mitigating the potential impacts of flooding. In addition to the key findings, the abstract will also present the process of engagement and lessons learned for successful academia/stakeholder engagement.


Dapeng Yu is a Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography. His research focuses on geocomputation and geospatial analysis of earth surface processes, and their wider impacts, focusing in particular on flood modelling and risk assessment. His research has been carried out through both the theoretical development of river flow and flood inundation models and the practical application of such models in both rural and urban environments, including the UK, Europe, Southeast Asia, Middle-East, and Pacific Ocean islands, evidenced by publications in top journals on flood hydrology and hydraulics and collaborations with national and international partners.  He is the author of the linked hydrological and hydraulic model FloodMap_HydroInundation designed for high-resolution surface water flooding in urban areas. In 2011 and 2013 he worked with Robert Wilby (Co-I) on two United Nations funded projects on climate-related risks for smallholder agriculture in Yemen. This analysis yielded a national atlas of climate hazards (including ‘hot spots’ of flash-flooding). In 2014, he was awarded a NERC Innovation project as PI on ‘Evaluating the resilience of critical infrastructure for emergency response in Leicester City’. He is the Loughborough PI of two consortium projects awarded by the 2015 EPSRC Water-Food-Energy Nexus Programme.

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