Building REsilience to Multi-source Flooding in South/Southeast Asia through a Technology-informed Community-based approacH (REMATCH)

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering


Due to the prevailing monsoon, abundant river systems and long coastlines, floods, as a result of multiple drivers (commonly including heavy rainfall, typhoons and tropical storms) repeatedly affect millions of people in many Southeast/South Asian countries each year. There is an urgent need to develop and implement effective risk communication and management strategies to prepare the local communities for future floods, i.e. improve awareness, reduce vulnerability, mitigate impacts, and save life, and eventually develop resilience. Through actively involving community members throughout the decision-making and implementation processes, community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM) provides a cost-effective bottom-up means to improve the awareness of communities about risks, provide them with access to collective resources and knowledge, and develop community-based preparedness and adaption/mitigation programmes. CBDRM has been implemented in Southeast/South Asian countries to reduce the impacts of flooding and develop community resilience. However, existing CBDRM projects have rarely taken advantage of the latest remote sensing products, high-performance computing for flood prediction and citizen science/crowd sourcing technologies, which have experienced substantial advancement particularly in the last decade. Collectively, these provide the potential to significantly advance the current CBDRM practice.

The overarching aim of REMATCH is to take on the exciting and timely opportunity from recent scientific and technological advances and develop an innovative and effective community-based flood risk management strategy to create a step change in building community resilience to flooding from multiple sources. Specifically in this foundation-building project we will 1) assemble an inter-disciplinary research team and establish an extensive researcher-stakeholder partnership to develop effective approaches to co-produce/share knowledge, communicate and manage risk, and enhance community resilience to flooding; 2) apply a multi-hazard risk analysis framework to quantify flood risk and understand the key drivers of flood hazards; 3) investigate and understand the historical and cultural implications for contemporary resilience building and impacts on socio-economic development; 4) adopt a citizen science approach to scope a pilot community-based flood forecasting and warning system based on crowd-sourced and remote-sensing data streams and real-time flood modelling technology; and 5) identify the major challenges in developing community resilience and develop a preliminary approach to measuring community flood resilience. These research objectives will be achieved through a carefully designed research programme, and implemented and tested in a case study site in Vietnam. During the project, we will also evaluate the feasibility for implementation in Bangladesh and other Southeast/South Asian countries for the full GCRF proposal.

Planned Impact

The project's focus is on researching new ways to connect community knowledge with advances in science and technology (e.g. remote-sensing, innovative natural and human systems modelling technologies, citizen science) to increase community resilience to multi-source flooding in Southeast/South Asia. Many stakeholders have been engaged in the development stages. Beneficiaries include:
- At risk communities in our case study site, An Giang;
- Local/regional/national stakeholders in flood risk management in Southeast/South Asia;
- Flood risk management organizations in Southeast/South Asia;
- Interdisciplinary researchers in natural hazard assessment and community-based hazard management.

Key benefits of the proposed research include:
- Quality of life: The research will provide a sustainable community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM) framework to increase local resilience, and to engage the public effectively in exploring issues for ownership, individual values, and preparedness.
- Public policy and legislator impacts: The project will engage policy-makers in Flood Management in Vietnam and Bangladesh, producing policy relevant outputs.
- Socio-economic benefits: The project will work directly with the local/regional government in the pilot study site to demonstrate practical ways to improve CBDRM for reducing socio-economic impacts of flood hazards.
- Development of community awareness: It will develop citizens' skills in monitoring/understanding risk, through the use of citizen science approaches.
- Development of scientific knowledge: The research will enhance scientists' communication skills across disciplines/cultures, and broaden scientific knowledge/skills in non-expert constituencies. Benefits will occur for those working in science and community-based sectors in widening understanding of each other's domains.
- Access to cutting-edge science: Vietnamese and Bangladeshi communities, professionals and academics will have access to scientific outcomes from the project.
Description 1. Citizen science approach could be useful in improving flood risk awareness at the community level. The approach can be also effective in collecting data and local knowledge. Involving community in the actual research is an effective way to support risk communication and build community resilience to flooding. 2. The latest high-performance flood modelling technologies could be applied in Vietnam to provide detailed flood hazard maps. 3. Earth observation technologies provided an effective means to make available high-resolution data to support flood modelling.
Exploitation Route Through local in-country partners, the research approaches and findings have been adopted to support their research. The findings will be also up-taken by other researchers who work in simulate projects/topics.
Sectors Environment

Description Through a citizen science approach. REMATCH has installed rain gauges together with the communities, supplying continuous data open to public. This leads to improved awareness of flood risk and resilience. The impact could be long-term.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Environment
Impact Types Societal

Description GCRF Living Deltas Hub
Amount £15,287,248 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/S008926/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2019 
End 05/2024
Description NCL IfS
Amount £5,937 (GBP)
Funding ID BH165187 
Organisation Newcastle University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2017 
End 07/2017
Description Satellite Radar Seminars
Amount £43,200 (GBP)
Organisation China Academy of Space Technology 
Sector Private
Country China
Start 11/2017 
End 04/2018
Title Rain gauges - Vietnam 
Description As part of our citizen science activities, 2 telemetered rain gauges have been installed in An Giang province, Vietnam. These allow local communities, decision makers and academic researchers to monitor rainfall. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Knowledge transfer in state of the art rainfall measurement. Use of data by local authorities in flood management. 
Title Hydraulic model - An Giang 
Description A high-performance hydraulic flood model was developed for An Giang province, Vietnam. This used a new digital elevation model, created from ERS-ENVISAT inferometry, which is a major advance on existing data. (Available on request.) 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact A series of flood maps for varying return periods were developed for use in flood management. 
Description AIT Professor Babel 
Organisation Asian Institute of Technology
Country Thailand 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise and intellectual input.
Collaborator Contribution Participated in a Workshop held at Newcastle (2017). Developed a survey for measuring community resilience to flooding.The survey has been performed in An Giang Province, Vietnam, and a report is currently being prepared.
Impact Survey of Community Resilience to Flooding
Start Year 2017
Description Jessore, Bangladesh 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The project team engaged with key stakeholders, NGOs, water-sector implementing agencies and local communities in the southwestern coastal delta in Bangladesh to understand risk perceptions and long-term consequences of engineering interventions to mitigate water-logging problems.The workshop was attended by 6 members of the REMATCH team (from Vietnam, UK, Bangladesh) and included local decision makers and decision makers from Vietnam, thus providing an international perspective.The purpose of the workshop was to share experiences on the prediction and response to flooding, with a view to creating best practice.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
Description School talk (Southridge First School, Whitley Bay) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Professor Zhenhong Li was invited to give a talk to 60 students in Southridge First School, Whitley Bay. He introduced satellites and their potential applications (e.g. earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding and agriculture), which sparked questions and discussion afterwards. It appeared that a couple of students decided to become a professor in the future!
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
Description Spotlight 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A spollight event focussing on research in South East Asia was held at Newcastle University, attended by local academic and PhD students. Three overseas member of the REMATCH team gave keynote speeches. The purpose of the event was to build partnerships for future research proposals and collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
Description Workshop Vietnam 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A workshop was held in February 2017 at An Giang University, Vietnam, with regard to flooding issues in the Mekong delta. It was attended by ~65 participants, including regional and national decision makers and local residents. The main purpose of the workshop was to share knowledge about flooding (experiences of farmers through to national scale planning) and to scope out future needs to improve community resilience to flooding. A follow-up workshop was held in March 2017 at which results from our research were presented. These included a survey on community flood resilience, community rain gauges (citizen science) and hydraulic modelling. Both workshops were featured on local TV.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017