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EU Prize for Women Innovators

Flooding in Europe: EU Research

There has never been a time when natural hazards did not regularly and profoundly affect life on earth. Tales of torrents, floods and earthly upheaval appear in our most ancient myths, and such events have played and continue to play, now more than ever, an integral part in the natural history of our planet.

As the world continues to be confronted by natural hazards, single states will always struggle to provide an adequate response when working in isolation. Therefore, it makes more sense to address such hazards from a European and global perspective.

EU policy embraces a strong international orientation, intended to foster more cross-border cooperation and solidarity, while promoting new public-private relationships. The Commission also supports efforts to improve the dissemination of research results. By working to promote communication and dialogue between key stakeholders, scientists, policy-makers and the general public, the European Commission hopes to ensure that all citizens are better aware of the hazards and risks and what can be done about them.

Here are two examples of successful, EU-funded research related to flooding:

Photo of a vilage on the Italian coast

Improved predictions to protect Europe's coastlines

In February 2010, Atlantic storm 'Xynthia' swept across Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, causing around 60 deaths and extensive damage to property due to flooding. As this and more devastating examples have shown, we are no longer able to rely on engineering alone to protect us from storm hazards.

Photo of flood water in the town

Putting the citizen at the centre of flood prevention

Social media has broken down barriers between information providers and consumers. An EU-funded project is seeking to capitalise on this by enabling citizens to monitor and report on their own environment, and thus become the first line of defence against flooding.

 

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