Disaster preparedness is essential for a delta city like Rotterdam. Because the city lies in a delta, it is sensitive to rising sea levels caused by climate change and is thus susceptible to flooding. Researchers at Delft University of Technology have been working on assessing the vulnerability of the city to flooding, and its various critical systems, such as transportation, energy, and healthcare. Bas Jonkman, Professor of Hydraulic Engineering at Delft University of Technology explains: ‘At the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center, we are developing knowledge on how to design a city so that it is well protected and prepared for current and future threats. As part of our research, we will investigate how cities can be evacuated during disasters and how the continued provision of healthcare can be ensured.’
Collaboration within the PDPC is key, because long-term threats need to be considered as well. Wetlands and urban water bodies can increase the mosquito population if temperatures rise in the future, which in turn increases the risk of infectious diseases spread by mosquitoes.