Student researcher

Within densely populated urban areas around the world, the likelihood of a disaster event is high and puts at risk large populations of vulnerable people. When such disasters occur the damage  bill  and  displacement  of  the  population  is  high.  In  the  context  of  disaster management, risk is defined as the probability and the magnitude of expected damages that can be assessed based on the interaction between hazard, exposure and vulnerability. In seeking to decrease the probability of risk from disasters, damage assessment and loss reduction is a crucial concern for the decision makers, emergency services officials, urban planners, engineers etc.

 Flood damage assessment attracts growing attention in recent years as its consideration in frame of flood risk analysis is still new and immature (Büchele et al., 2006; Merz et al.,2010). Flood consequences are generally measured by the impacts of flood, exposure of elements at risk and their vulnerability, often expressed in monetary terms (Thywissen,2006).  Generally, flood damage can be classified into direct and indirect damage (Smith and Ward,1998; Merz et al., 2010). Direct damage like loss of life or devastation of buildings and infrastructure comprise those which are caused by the direct physical contact of the flood water with economic assets, humans or any other object (Smith and Ward, 1998). Indirect costs like production loss or cost of emergency service, in contrast, occur outside the inundated area, but are induced by the direct impact of the flood event (Cochrane, 2004; Meyer et al., 2013). Both types can be further differentiated by tangible and intangible damage, depending on whether they can be monetized or not (Smith and Ward, 1998). More recently, losses due to business interruption occurring in areas directly affected by the flood as well as costs of risk mitigation are included as a separate sub-category within loss assessments of natural hazards (Meyer et al., 2013).

The  research  proposed  in  this  project  will  focus  on  quantifying  the  flood  risks  and performing a flood damage assessment for a case study area within Australia. This work will build on and contribute to the current BNHCRC project ‘Pre-disaster multi-hazard damage and economic loss estimation model’ (PRE-ELEM project) which aims to identify optimum economic policy options to recover or minimise the adverse effects of natural hazards. Within the PRE-ELEM body of work there are a number of stages that involve assessing multi-hazard risks and estimating potential damages and economic losses within the Australian context – at both a state (Victoria) level and a national level.  The  three  natural  disaster  types  of  bushfire,  flood  and  earthquakes  have  been selected as the focus.

This research project proposes to develop and perform the flood damage assessment module of this project.  Flood damage assessment could be considered as an important part of PRE-ELEM project because firstly, one of the largest portions of natural disaster cost is related to flood events (Munich Re, 2005) and secondly, Australian common models (e.g. RAM and ANUFLOOD) may lead to considerable inaccuracy and underestimation in flood damage assessment (Barton et al., 2003). Consequently, due to the considerable role of flood phenomena compared to other natural hazards in risk management and the stage of achievements  in  the  context  of  flood  damage  assessment  in  Australia,  an  accurate estimation of flood consequences could play a prominent role for PRE-ELEM project.

By distinguishing the level of vulnerability (i.e. physical, social and systemic) and magnitude of hazard, flood consequences (direct and indirect) could be estimated by the adapted methodologies for the geographical condition of Australia. Afterwards, through proposing some mitigation measures for the decision makers, the response of society will be optimized enough for the future flood scenarios. Additionally, in a disaster event, the initial actions could be taken based on these estimations and can be updated dynamically by the help of timely information. The outcome of this research will be important for end users of the PRE-ELEM project and disaster management decision makers as a tool for assisting the development and implementation of an appropriate policy for flood risk mitigation in pre-disaster time.

Although emergency response in regard of saving human lives is very successful in Australia, preparedness for natural disaster impacts with reference to loss reduction and damage mitigation is less successful. On the other hand the value of the exposed properties has been increasing exponentially and this matter will raise the level of the sensitivity in the financial sectors. This research aims to develop a validated flood damage model for the geographical and vulnerability condition of Australia using historic data collected from recent extreme events and simulation results by flood damage assessment software (e.g. HAZUS and HEC-FIA) to inform disaster management policy in support of the development of risk reduction measures.

Date Title Download Key Topics
25 Sep 2015 Roozbeh Hasanzadeh PhD Progress Report 2015 PDF icon 64.22 KB (64.22 KB)
Roozbeh Hasanzadeh Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016
Statistical analyses show the considerable impacts of flood risk compared to other types of natural hazards
Flood damage assessment in urban areas
30 Jun 2017
The primary focus of this study is an improved methodology for quantifying flood risk. The outcome is...
Flood assessment in urban areas
18 Sep 2018
The primary focus of this study is an improved methodology for quantifying the flood risk. The outcome is...