Evacuation in the Netherlands is not pointless

February 18, 2013

An evacuation in the event of flooding is not as pointless for the Netherlands as is generally assumed. This is one of the conclusions reached by Olga Huibregtse, who will receive her doctorate for research on this subject at TU Delft on Monday 18 February.

Poorly prepared

"The Netherlands is poorly prepared for a flood disaster. Too many people are unaware, for example, of what to do in case of an emergency", as was recently claimed by Minister Schultz of and the Environment (only in Dutch). PhD candidate Olga Huibregtse of TU Delft is one of the researchers attempting to change this, together with Prof. Serge Hoogendoorn and Dr Andreas Hegyi. Huibregtse's research focused on a more efficient evacuation by car in the event of flooding. As an example, Huibregtse used in her research, among other things, the evacuation by car of Walcheren, with 112,000 inhabitants. "It is certainly true that we are ill-prepared for an evacuation," states Huibregtse. "But with an effective evacuation plan, this can certainly be changed."

Taking uncertainties into account

Evacuations are characterised by a high level of uncertainty, such as uncertainty in the behaviour of the people (do they adhere to the instructions provided?) or in the capacity of the road network. Huibregtse: "When uncertainty is not taken into account in the evacuation instructions that are given out, the instructions will probably have little effect. For example, in the event that the behaviour of the people deviates from the behaviour expected." For this reason, Huibregtse is the first person also to include the combination of the factors of uncertainty and adherence behaviour in her research into optimum evacuation instructions.

Useful

"I present optimisation methods that result in instructions for motorists: when to depart, where to go and which route to follow. These optimised instructions prove to be considerably more effective than instructions based on simple rules, such as instructing the evacuees simply to follow the shortest route. This indicates that is not as pointless for the as is generally assumed. In order to apply the instructions properly, they will need to be part of a broader plan which also includes communication and operational strategies."

Explore further: Saving lives through smarter hurricane evacuations

Related Stories

Saving lives through smarter hurricane evacuations

August 28, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Hundreds of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars could potentially be saved if emergency managers could make better and more timely critical decisions when faced with an approaching hurricane. Now, an ...

Stairwell evacuation study finds 'what we know we don't know'

March 25, 2009

Most of the time, we use the stairs in buildings—especially in high-rise structures—only as a back-up for faster elevators and escalators, but during a fire or other emergency, stairs become our primary passage to survival. ...

Disaster survivors sought for evacuation study

October 13, 2010

A British expert on human behaviour in major disasters has called for survivors, especially those of the 2005 London bombings, to come forward to help improve evacuation procedures.

Recommended for you

What lies beneath West Antarctica?

April 29, 2016

Three recent publications by early career researchers at three different institutions across the country provide the first look into the biogeochemistry, geophysics and geology of Subglacial Lake Whillans, which lies 800 ...

Higher coal use in Asia could increase water stress

April 29, 2016

Coal burning, despite recent signs of having peaked in China and pledges made at the Paris Climate talks in December, remains the primary source of electric power in Asia. In both China and India, it's responsible for the ...

Methane production reduced in ruminants

May 3, 2016

Researchers at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have taken part in a study of the effect of one molecule, 3-nitrooxypropanol, in inhibiting methane production in ruminants. The work has been published in the Proceedings ...

Hurricanes key to carbon uptake by forests

May 2, 2016

While hurricanes are a constant source of worry for residents of the southeastern United States, new research suggests that they have a major upside—counteracting global warming.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.