Frontrunner project: Pandemic lessons for flood disaster preparedness

Ever since the Netherlands began building mounds, much has been invested in flood prevention. However, there has been little focus on preparations during a flood. The floods in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium in the summer of 2021 revealed what the consequences could be, even during a short-lived flood. Historically, floods have often disrupted the regular functioning of healthcare, showing us that we need to better prepare healthcare institutions.


We will identify what is needed to safeguard access to quality healthcare during floods. In this process, we consider the lessons learned during the recent floods and the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.


In three subprojects, we explore the impact of large-scale floods on our healthcare system. This includes the challenges that can emerge during crises due to a rapid increase in patient numbers as well as the long-term health impacts. We base our work on information and evaluations from floods (e.g. Limburg, New Orleans) and simulations of potential floods in Zuid-Holland. We take the first step toward a real-time system that charts patient flows, available staff and infrastructure. We also explore which measures and interventions impact most during specific scenarios. Lastly, we focus on a decision-making structure that supports collaboration between actors.

We will work with our stakeholders to incorporate the results of the subprojects into a serious game. This serious game should prepare administrators and people in the field to make effective decisions during flood-related crises.