Article Originally posted on CDKN Blog July 2013
Kate Hawley of ISET International introduces a climate-resilient housing design competition underway in Vietnam, which is part of a CDKN-funded project called ‘Sheltering from a gathering storm’.
“This is the 2007 flood level,” explained Mr. Cao Giang Nam, a lecturer from Da Nang Architectural University in Vietnam. As I looked up, I realised the flooding level in Hoa Chau ward was taller than me, exceeding my height at 170cm. “How is this possible?” I ask myself. “How does someone actually survive flood waters taller than 170cm?” These questions continued to fill my head as we walked the roads of the Hoa Chau ward in Da Nang city.
Many factors contribute to the almost annual flooding in the city of Da Nang, Vietnam. Flooding is often triggered by heavy rainfall events associated with the monsoon or typhoons either in the city or upstream in the Vu Gia-Thu Bon river basin. Storm surges and high tides during rain events can exacerbate flooding.
Climate change is expected to result in shorter bursts of heavier rainfall, instead of the more consistent rainfall that is traditionally experienced. What does this mean? It means more flooding for the residents of Da Nang.
For typhoons, the future risk is less clear. Since such limited information exists concerning typhoons in Southeast Asia, we cannot be sure of what will happen. The science suggests that typhoon frequency may reduce, but intensity may increase. This would mean that when a typhoon hits, the risk of flooding is higher.
However, a changing climate isn’t the only cause of increasing flood risk. A policy brief we published recently found that rapid development in Da Nang’s urban and peri-urban areas is also contributing to more frequent and severe flooding.
Da Nang is a quickly urbanising me