September 24, 2021

The Pulse

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Flood disasters in big cities: – – We have to think differently

Buildings collapsing from water masses. Tunnel tunnels and subway systems swim. Cars floating like boats on the streets that have turned into rivers.

In recent years, many such films have been seen in cities around the world.

This summer, it is again seen that floods have caused great damage in many countries in Europe.

Floods in western Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg It killed about 200 lives and led to massive disasters More and more people have gone missing there, houses have collapsed and electricity has run out.

In one area near Liege, Belgium, 271 millimeters of rain was measured in 48 hours, more than twice the amount normally falling throughout July, CNN reported.

Disasters: Massive devastation after floods in Mesos in West Germany.  Experts hope to see more about this in the future.  Photo: Christoph Stach / AFP / NDP
Disasters: Massive catastrophe after floods in Mesos in West Germany. Experts hope to see more about this in the future. Photo: Christoph Stach / AFP / NDP
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– May happen in Norway

On Sunday, London was hit by heavy rains, which caused massive flooding on the streets and underground in the subway. This created major problems for public transportation.

Both hospitals had to evacuate patients who were not critically ill because the hospitals were heavily damaged by water, he writes. CNN.

According to Train Zahr Hectal, a hydrologist at the Norwegian Directorate of Water Resources and Energy (NVE), floods are one of the things we can expect most from this country.

– Yes, we expect this to happen in the future with the intensity of rainfall and increased temperatures in Norway. This will lead to more destruction because we are always building closer, have higher values, and have more people, Hectal tells Duckbladet.

Urban flooding

According to CNN, many climate and infrastructure experts have warned for years that London, like many major cities, is not ready for climate change. Cities cannot withstand heavy rains because of old infrastructure and old drainage systems.

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In Norway, on the other hand, solutions are being found in the urban plan to ensure that floods do less damage in the future.

Dangers: In February 2020, the opera in Oslo was flooded.  The Norwegian Meteorological Agency has issued a yellow alert for high water levels throughout eastern Norway.  Authorities are working to protect cities in the future.  Photo: Cornelius Pope / NDP
Risks Threat: In February 2020, there was a lot of water in the opera in Oslo. The Norwegian Meteorological Agency has issued a yellow alert for high water levels throughout eastern Norway. Authorities are working to protect cities in the future. Photo: Cornelius Pope / NDP
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– We are now working to protect Norwegian cities for the future. There are many cities in the country that are particularly hard hit by urban flooding. Hectal says the municipalities of many of Norway’s major cities are now actively working to address this.

He adds that they are now looking at important solutions such as opening waterways and creating alternative green roofs that can carry water along the road.

– There are many researchers in the country who are actively working to find out how big of an impact this can have and to what extent they can occur, says the hydrologist.

Flooding: Several roads in London were completely submerged on Sunday afternoon.  Photo: Justin Talis / AFP / NDP
Flood: Several roads in London were completely submerged on Sunday afternoon. Photo: Justin Talis / AFP / NDP
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– Not today

One of these researchers was Don Meret Muthanna. He is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at NDNU, and his research areas include urban surface water management and urban flooding.

Although Norwegian research in this field has come a long way, he explains that there are still many things to prevent great catastrophe.

– In Norway, we have a three-step strategy for dealing with surface water, where small incidents have to be infiltrated, medium-sized ones have to be reversed and delayed, and large incidents have to be dealt with with safe flood paths. This is especially the last phase, safe floodplains are challenging, and we have worked hard on how to protect these floodplains, ”Muthanna tells Duclat.

Do not hold: Don Meret Muthanna believes that the solutions we created 50 years ago do not exist today.  Photo: Anne-Line Bacon / NDNU
Not enough: Don Merrett Muthanna believes that the solutions we created 50 years ago do not exist today. Photo: Anne-Line Bacon / NDNU
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He further explains that this is a problem in cities and suburbs that have been developing steadily for decades. In addition, it is a challenge in cities where the urban area is very low and elevated. Examples of such cities are Oslo and Bergen.

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As is well known, water flows downstream and then ends up in the old infrastructure, which is not configured for today’s volumes and rainfall intensity. The professor says that we need to solve this by thinking long and hard while building the infrastructure and creating safe flood roads on the surface using green infrastructure such as roads, roads and parks and common areas.

However, he points out that this is also complicated by climate change.

– What we did 50 years ago, not today, he says.

The forces of nature

Sicily Sachs Olson, a researcher at the Urban and Regional Research Institute (NIPR) in Oslomet, agrees that new thinking is needed to protect cities in the future. He believes we need to see what solutions we can create based on nature.

Olson believes that one can look at the natural structure for better solutions.

– In the past, it was customary to build permanent, permanent structures and dams to prevent rivers from flooding. Microbial solutions have now been found to be more beneficial in creating waterways so that it can stay in place over time and water can find its own way. In a symbolic sense, this means we should work to improve the forces, but not against them, the researcher tells Duckbladet.

Nature: Sicily Sachs Olsen believes that one must learn from nature to find the best solutions for safer cities.  Photo: Oslomet
Nature: Sicily Sachs Olsen believes that one must learn from nature to find the best solutions for safer cities. Photo: Oslomet
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He explains that past attempts have been made to fix, control or stabilize nature through certain approaches that are not applicable in all contexts. But nature is dynamic and uncontrollable.

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– We have to think differently. We need to learn from nature and find ways we can follow this. It is related to how one thinks about urban planning, which is not only the center of humanity (man is at the center of nature. Ed. Journ.), But we think about nature and other wildlife. If we think like this, there may be new solutions, he says.

Flood: Police say a severe storm has killed at least 100 people in southwestern Germany. Video: NTB / SCANPIX
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New solutions

Hydrologist Train Zahr Hectal says there has been some criticism following the floods in Germany this summer that they were not adequately prepared and that the drainage network was outdated and not optimal.

– Serious forces and many values ​​are lost, so one should consider all possibilities to reduce the amount of damage from such incidents, says Hectal.

Nevertheless, he points out that many European cities are in the process of developing new solutions for the future.

He cites an example from the 2011 floods in Copenhagen.

It was measured approximately. The Danish capital received 150 millimeters of rain in two hours, and the damage after the rain was enormous. The city also created a city after experiencing many such events Project For how to deal with heavy rain.

Don Marret Muthanna explains that since 2011 Danes has worked hard on how to protect the city and create the most flexible infrastructure.

– But everything is flat in Denmark, so the same solutions cannot be used in Norway as they are in Denmark. Both the speed and depth of the water affect the extent of damage and risk. Protecting infrastructure in Norway is challenging because we have many slopes and heights. It is important to have a good intermediate approach that includes both construction technology, water and transport infrastructure, Muthanna points out.