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Dealing with flood damages: will prevention, mitigation, and ex post compensation provide for a resilient triangle?

Cathy Suykens, Institute for Environmental and Energy Law, KU Leuven; Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, Utrecht University
Sally J Priest, Flood Hazard Research Centre, Middlesex University
Willemijn J van Doorn-Hoekveld, Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, Utrecht University
Thomas Thuillier, Laboratory for Studies and Researches on Public Action, Université François-Rabelais (Tours)
Marleen van Rijswick, Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, Utrecht University

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08592-210401

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Abstract

There is a wealth of literature on the design of ex post compensation mechanisms for natural disasters. However, more research needs to be done on the manner in which these mechanisms could steer citizens toward adopting individual-level preventive and protection measures in the face of flood risks. We have provided a comparative legal analysis of the financial compensation mechanisms following floods, be it through insurance, public funds, or a combination of both, with an empirical focus on Belgium, the Netherlands, England, and France. Similarities and differences between the methods in which these compensation mechanisms for flood damages enhance resilience were analyzed. The comparative analysis especially focused on the link between the recovery strategy on the one hand and prevention and mitigation strategies on the other. There is great potential within the recovery strategy for promoting preventive action, for example in terms of discouraging citizens from living in high-risk areas, or encouraging the uptake of mitigation measures, such as adaptive building. However, this large potential has yet to be realized, in part because of insufficient consideration and promotion of these connections within existing legal frameworks. We have made recommendations about how the linkages between strategies can be further improved. These recommendations relate to, among others, the promotion of resilient reinstatement through recovery mechanisms and the removal of legal barriers preventing the establishment of link-inducing measures.

Key words

adaptive building; compensation; flood mitigation; flood risk governance; flood risk prevention; insurance; recovery; resilience

Copyright © 2016 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087