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Evaluating the risk of flooding in the Tunisian city of Mjez El Bab: a methodological approach

Fatma ZOUAOUI student laureate
fatma_fst@yahoo.fr

°1980 Tunesia
Master of Soil Sciences, 2002

Methodologie d'élaboration d'un plan de risques aux inondations: application à la ville de Mjez El Bab

Flooding is the result of a combination of a large number of natural and human factors that finally result in too much water in too short a time in a particular area. Inundation can lead to a great loss of human life and always causes great damage. The tragic consequences of this damage have a particularly devastating effect in developing countries. Nevertheless, unlike natural disasters like earthquakes, inundation can to a considerable extent be assessed and appropriate measures taken to protect oneself from the consequences. In dry areas like Tunisia little attention is generally paid to flooding because it occurs very rarely. Nevertheless flooding can be highly destructive in Tunisia because it is generally the result of brief but heavy downpours of rain in a mountainous hinterland resulting in catastrophic flash floods with very high peak discharges.
Fatma Zouaoui’s research focuses wholly on this problem. A statistical processing of a mass of discharge data from a measuring station enabled her to estimate the frequency and size of any future flooding. In combination with a Digital Terrain Model she was thus able to draft a plan of the degree of vulnerability of the various urban areas of Mjez El Bab. This plan should enable the local authorities to establish priorities for the prevention of flooding or for alleviating any resulting damage that may occur, in a scientifically based manner.
The results of this methodological study are not only of academic and local importance. The methodology produced can be applied relatively simply to other cities in Tunisia and thus serve as a guideline for efficient policy in a large area.
 

report: Prof. Morgan De Dapper, Geography Department, Universiteit Gent, Belgium