ECNU team publishes findings on flood emergency response linked to natural disasters in urban areas


On May 18, ECNU's urban physical geography research team, in collaboration with their domestic and international partners, published an article in Nature Sustainability. The article, named “Disruption of emergency response to vulnerable populations during floods, focuses on vulnerable groups in England such as the elderly, younger children and people with poor health conditions who are most susceptible to natural disasters. It analyzes the impact of floods and the varying magnitude and severity on urban emergency response. The results provide a new approach to improve urban flood emergency management under adverse geographic and climate conditions.

There has been several serious floods in Southern China this year.

Fire and ambulance services are the primary first responders during life-threatening public emergencies (e.g. natural disasters and accidents). Floods jeopardize the lives of certain groups of people (especially the aged, young, sick and disabled) and result in a spike in demand for emergency rescue services. Meanwhile, serious waterlogging does wreak havoc on traffic and impairs the ability of emergency responders by making roads impassable or increasing traffic congestion. Climate change is also expected to increase the magnitude and frequency of flood events, which makes emergency response even more difficult as the floods become fiercer. The optimization of urban emergency response management remains a top priority in overcoming these challenges.

The article is published in Nature Sustainability.

The authors conclude that although the impacts of the geographic spread of emergency services are well understood, the ‘cascading’ effects of flooding events must be used for more robust, fair, sustainable, and flexible planning. They agree that the state government needs to optimize the distribution of resources and enhance regional cooperation. Moreover, the city’s government should refine emergency services for residents, improve the accessibility of emergency aid for vulnerable groups and increase overall fairness to receive such services and aid.

The research was a collaborative effort between ECNU, the Loughborough University in the U.K., the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, Vrije University Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Princeton University in the U.S., Tsinghua University, European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, and the University of Hong Kong.

Dr. Dapeng Yu of Loughborough University is also chair Professor at ECNU.

Prof. Yin Jie from ECNU School of Geographic Sciences is the corresponding authors of the article.

The work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program and the National Natural Science Foundation, with Yu Dapeng, ECNU chair Professor and Prof. Yin Jie from ECNU School of Geographic Sciences as the corresponding authors of the article.

Source: School of Geographic Sciences

Copywriter: Philip Nash

Editor: Linlan Zhang


East China Normal University