General presentation

The IDEA project is a response to the very limited reliability of data currently used to support cost benefit analysis in the field of natural hazards mitigation.

The IDEA project proposal addresses four main objectives:
1.  to support more effective mitigation measures in the aftermath of a disaster, by analysing damage data according to a forensic perspective. Knowing how different components of risk (hazard, exposure, vulnerability) contributed to the final damage, is crucial for developing guidance for the most effective recovery and reconstruction investments, in order to reduce the risk for the future;

2. to show how improved data may better inform pre-event risk modelling, so as to develop more reliable cost benefit analysis of measures that are taken today to prevent a future disaster. Improved and new data incur greater costs of collection that need to be balanced by the added value they provide to the assessments;

3. to address data on damage to critical infrastructures and economic activities, as a key to identifying the impact of a disaster on the economy of the affected region;

4. to develop tools that will enable public administrations to manage damage and loss estimation for the following purposes: compensation within the financial arrangements existing in each country, forensic investigation to guide recovery toward effective investments, better risk assessments for future events, to feed more reliable cost benefit analyses of mitigation measures. The improvement of both damage data quality and procedures to collect and manage them is of paramount importance in view of more frequent disasters provoked by meteo-related events as a consequence of climate change.

Actions and means involved

The above objectives will be achieved through five main tasks. The first is aimed at setting the foundations for the subsequent work, by selecting and meeting relevant stakeholders responsible for damage data collection and management. Such stakeholders range from municipal officials, to infrastructure managing companies, to different agencies and bureaus within regional, provincial, state authorities. Partners in this project either represent some of those stakeholders or have direct contacts with them, especially for the case study areas selected as tests for IDEA. In the first task, the already available data will be critically analysed and with the help of stakeholders completed as far as possible. The three case studies are: the Umbria region recently affected by three extreme storms causing floods and landslides, the Lorca town hit by an earthquake in 2011, and the Severn flood in 2007 in the UK. In the second task the data will be used to support forensic analysis of the events, in the attempt to identify what were the main drivers of the disaster (hazard intensity, vulnerability, exposure) and to assess the relative weight of damage to different sectors. The forensic analysis will provide input to assess the cost/benefit ratio of selected recovery investments. The goal of the third task is to investigate how data collection procedures differ depending on the financial arrangements that exist in different countries for compensation purposes. A first workshop will be held to help partners identify if and how data collection and management tools can serve the double purpose of forensic investigations and compensation. The fourth task will show how better damage and loss data can improve the results of pre-event damage assessments to support the cost benefit analysis of mitigation measures. The fifth task will provide the logic architecture of an information system enabling stakeholders to carry out the three activities of forensic investigation, compensation to victims and reconstruction, and pre-event modelling using improved damage data. A second workshop will be organised together with stakeholders from other European countries (not participating to the consortium) to understand how the identified requirements of the information system and the associated tools for data collection, storage, analysis and representation may be made relevant at a wider European level.

Expected results

• Design of an enhanced information system easy to embed in administrative procedures to enable stakeholders carry out cost-benefit analyses of recovery and reconstruction investment;

• Application of the enhanced tools and methods on case studies in the three countries of the partners, showing how proposed solutions are not only tailored to the financial instruments used to compensate damage in the time ranging from emergency to reconstruction, but also provide better input for pre-event scenario modelling;

• Recommendations and guidelines for authorities applying for solidarity funds after disasters either at a national level or to the European Commission.