A GIS-based model to estimate flood consequences and the degree of accessibility and operability of strategic emergency response structures in urban areas
Efficient decision-making regarding flood risk reduction has become a priority for authorities and stakeholders in many European countries. Risk analysis methods and techniques are a useful tool for evaluating costs and benefits of possible interventions. Within this context, a methodology to estimate flood consequences was developed in this paper that is based on GIS, and integrated with a model that estimates the degree of accessibility and operability of strategic emergency response structures in an urban area. The majority of the currently available approaches do not properly analyse road network connections and dependencies within systems, and as such a loss of roads could cause significant damages and problems to emergency services in cases of flooding. The proposed model is unique in that it provides a maximum-impact estimation of flood consequences on the basis of the operability of the strategic emergency structures in an urban area, their accessibility, and connection within the urban system of a city (i.e. connection between aid centres and buildings at risk), in the emergency phase. The results of a case study in the Puglia region in southern Italy are described to illustrate the practical applications of this newly proposed approach. The main advantage of the proposed approach is that it allows for defining a hierarchy between different infrastructure in the urban area through the identification of particular components whose operation and efficiency are critical for emergency management. This information can be used by decision-makers to prioritize risk reduction interventions in flood emergencies in urban areas, given limited financial resources.