PhD student Anitha Karthik presented an examination of current resilience measures to the first international workshop on waves, storm surges and coastal hazards. The work was carried out at the School of Engineering & Built Environment to investigate storm surge factors, future resilience and adaptation measures.

A key aspect of hurricanes is the resultant storm surge, where the sea rises at the coast by five to eight metres, causing significant damage and threat to life.

As Hurricane Harvey and Irma have shown, the impact on people, communities, cities and businesses have been significant and in some cases have led to loss of life.

Anitha, based in our Institute for Sustainable Construction, explains how significant the socioeconomic impacts of storm surge can be.

“Damage due to storm surge from Hurricane Sandy (2013) was estimated to cost New York $65 billion,” she said. “Storm surge was a key factor in the failure of the levees in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina (2005). This caused wide scale damage, estimated to be over $100 billion and where 40% of the 1,836 fatalities were due to drowning.”

She added: “Our work has focused on investigating the current resilience measures for housing, potential adaptation planning frameworks, which may be required, and the possibility for offshore mobile resilience measures. Our research is already attracting interest from a number of stakeholders which is very positive.”