An international team of engineers is joining forces with a disaster educationalist to investigate coastal flooding due to cyclones in three communities within the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka.
Communities in these provinces face a significantly greater risk of flooding from storm surges associated with seasonal cyclones than those in the rest of the country’s coastal belt.
Using a range of methods including computer modelling, researchers plan to develop a series of compound flood hazard maps that will take into account storm surge components, rainfall and the future impact of climate change.
The C-FLOOD (Compound flooding from tropical cyclone-induced sea surge and precipitation in Sri Lanka) project is being funded through a grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the UK’s Department for International Development under the SHEAR Catalyst programme.
It builds upon the previous work of national storm surge flood hazard assessment conducted by the University of Peradeniya and the Coast Conservation Department for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Disaster Management. This work produced storm surge flood hazard maps for the entire coastline of Sri Lanka. However, these maps did not include the effect of precipitation. This new C-FLOOD project will include rainfall modelling into the coastal flood hazard maps for the three selected communities.
The C-FLOOD team will also work with governmental organisations and the local communities to help people fully appreciate the level of threat and the actions they can take to minimise the risk to them and their homes.
The project is being led by the University of Plymouth with University of East London, University College London, the University of Peradeniya (SL) and the Coast Conservation Department (SL). They partners will also work in conjunction with engineering consultants, universities and governmental organisations in the UK, Sri Lanka, Japan and Australia.
Alison Raby, Professor in Environmental Fluid Mechanics in the University of Plymouth’s School of Engineering, is the project’s Principal Investigator. She said:
“It’s a huge privilege to partner with experts in Sri Lanka, to quantify the hazards associated with flooding in these vulnerable areas. We hope that in developing an increased understanding of the coastal flooding mechanisms, and working alongside the local communities, we will improve their resilience to these natural hazards.”