In 2005, hurricane Katrina, the most expensive catastrophe in the history of the United States, devastated the Gulf of Mexico. 80% of New Orleans was flooded and 1,800 people lost their lives. In order to protect itself against similar events or any other chronic stress or shock, the town has set itself the priority of improving its understanding of exposure to risks and transforming its urban system.
Resilience requires global risk management, combining physical and financial protection. This is the focal point of the risk assessment plan implemented by Veolia, Swiss Re and New Orleans, in the context of the first international public-private partnership on resilience. This partnership aims to optimize prevention costs and reduce post-event losses, as well as the recovery period after a shock. For 4 months, 30 Veolia and Swiss Re experts, in coordination with stakeholders in the town, examined 200 drinking water, sanitation and rainwater evacuation facilities in the town in order to determine their degree of vulnerability and recommend the appropriate action to ensure these facilities are able to resist a shock. The results of this report should be submitted to the town before the end of the year.
"Veolia and Swiss Re have the opportunity to play a key role in helping cities become more resilient to events such as Hurricane Katrina. We are strongly convinced that resilience reinforces the appeal and competitiveness of cities. That’s why we are increasing the awareness of the vulnerability of the critical infrastructures of cities, and are accelerating activities to improve the continuity of essential services", declared Laurent Auguste, Senior Executive Vice President of Innovation & Markets at Veolia.
According to Nikhil da Victoria Lobo, Head of Global Partnerships, Americas, for Swiss Re:
"This partnership with Veolia is unique, combining the strengths of two private sector companies from very different backgrounds, aiming to make major cities like New Orleans more flexible and more responsive to risks. It's not just about having a strategy in place: it's the actual implementation that will determine the success of New Orleans' pioneering resiliency work. We're excited to be playing a part in this ambitious project, which is a first step towards helping other cities manage similar projects".
« A resilient city to meet the challenges to the future »
>Veolia’s blog "Let's talk about climate": posts on Resilience
>The article in Planet Magazine (July 2016 edition) "New Orleans organizes its resilience and sets the example"
>Veolia and resilience in cities: joining forces to turn risk into an opportunity for growth