First Results

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Since the official project started in February 2007, some results are already available.

5.1 Report on experiences from floods

As an overview about the whole complex topic, it was necessary to perform a state of the art survey and to find out, which measures have been taken in the past to prevent or reduce the impact of natural flooding disasters and to survey possible repair interventions that have proven to be suitable for the restoration of valuable buildings after the flood.

Several factors are influencing Cultural Heritage and the losses due to flood and it is important to develop all-embracing strategies taking into account not only technical measures against flood but to consider also the "human factor" and other aspects that bare a threat to vulnerable buildings.

An evaluation of countermeasures against flood damage has to start with an analysis of former incidents. In many cases data are not available but still it is possible to draw valuable conclusions from reports and recordings of earlier catastrophies. Even the comparison of old pictures or photographs that show, how a Cultural Heritage building is located in its natural surrounding allows to identify some of the relevant characteristic parameters of flooding.

The "Report on experiences from previous and historic floods, summary about the characteristic parameters of these events" was worked out by the University of Genoa, Italy under the leadership of Prof. Luca Lanza and with the contributions of other project partners. It provides a summary of the experiences gained from major floods occurred in the past and their synthetic descriptive parameters, which may help in future assessment of the severity of floods in relation to Cultural Heritage. The main types of floods are presented, and typical problems are illustrated by means of recent and past examples related to the impact on Cultural Heritage.

The report is one of the agreed deliverables of the project and will be published after the next project meeting in April 2008.

5.2 Interfaces to running Flood and Cultural Heritage projects

Another deliverable of the project compiles a list of other projects, both national and international, related to mitigation of damages from floods. This report was made by the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics ITAM ASCR v.v.i., Prague, Czech Republic, led by Milos Drdacky.

It provides basic information about other related running projects dealing with flooding, and on their impact on Cultural Heritage. An analysis is made also on other natural hazards, e.g. earthquake, landslides, subsidence etc. and their threat for Cultural Heritage.

The report "Interfaces to running Flood & Cultural Heritage projects" provides a list of identified projects and includes short comments on their content and main results.

The European Commission has launched several international research projects on natural hazards affecting Cultural Heritage. These projects are valuable for the CHEF project because most of them European relevance and provide highly objective information. To take advantage of the synergies of similar research projects it is necessary to use the contacts that have been established within many networks, especially with end-users, who are the most important addressees for the project results.

It is a major issue that during the next project years the listed contacts with the leaders and partners of the related projects will be activated in order to establish a common scheme for sharing experience and to collaborate in filling the gaps presently existing in our knowledge concerning protection of Cultural Heritage from flood effects.

Examples of very prominent international projects related to damage of flooding events are NOAH'S ARK [6], RIMAX [7], and ELLA [8]. The objectives of NOAH'S ARK (Global Climate Change Impact on Built Heritage and Cultural Landscapes, running from 2004-2007) were to determine the meteorological and climate change parameters that are most critical to the built cultural heritage. Moreover to research and address future expected damages and disseminate optimum adaption strategies. The RIMAX (Risk Management of Extreme Flood Events) project aims at developing and implementing improved instruments of flood risk management by the integration of different disciplines and several participants. It focuses on extreme flood events in river basins which means events with a return period of more than a 100 years and a highly destructive potential. ELLA (Preventive flood management measures by transnational spatial planning, running 2004-2007) focusses on damage related to flood events of the river Elbe in Germany. It is worked towards trans-national strategies and regional planning for flood control. This includes international knowledge, experience and data exchange.

5.3 Literature compilation

A large number of articles, publications, reports and websites have been collected and analyzed in order to get a broad overview about the topic. Especially for the recent floods in Germany and the Czech Republic in 2002 a lot of valuable material is available. For an effective analysis the material has been classified according to the following topics:

• Recommendations on floods

• Reports about floods - lessons learned

• Risk management of floods

• Damage of materials.

This compilation allows the comparison of counter-measures that have been taken in different European countries to reduce the impact of flooding. The reports about various regional flooding events show that the visible and unvisible damages and cosequences and may vary significantly even if flooding occurs in the same region at different times.

5.4 Template for damage at Cultural Heritage objects/buildings

A questionnaire has been developed in the frame of the project to identify frequent and typical damage at Cultural Heritage objects or buildings. This questionnaire will be distributed among end-users and is meant to catch the users demand for investigation methods or for desired restoration activities. The template addresses owners or stakeholders of buildings and compiles information about damage that has affected a structural element, a building or an object of historic value. The record of damage includes meaningful pictures or illustrations and asks, in a first step, for the following criteria:

• Building/Object/Structural element

• Origin of damage

• Flood parameters

• Material properties

• Applied analysis methods: / Applicable analysis methods

• Proposed method or activity for future protection

• Proposed method for restoration.

Flood-related damage, a classification of damage and the definition of damage threshold is the output of this task. Based on the results of this survey, the CHEF consortium will give recommendations and guidelines for specific risk minimizing actions, which can then be implemented in the contingency planning.

5.5 Laboratory research

To gain more knowledge about materials and movable Cultural Heritage, their properties and their interaction with moisture, salt, pollution and other phenomena related to flooding catastrophes the building materials itself are investigated. Experimental investigations will be combined with numerical modeling of structural behavior as well as of moisture transport. Together with deterministic models, probabilistic models to study the building and material vulnerability will be implemented. For experimental investigations, several non-destructive and minor destructive testing methods as well as sensors and equipment for monitoring will be evaluated and validated for selected testing problems.

In the frame of the FP5 project ONSITEFOR-MASONRY [9] [10], a large specimen has been

Figure 6. Historic masonry specimen "Obelix", featuring a variety of characteristics of Cultural Heritage buildings. Investigations with the microwave-borehole method to determine moisture profile.

constructed at BAM. This specimen, called "Obelix", features several characteristics of historic masonry and was built for the validation of investigation methods. Traditional manufacturing techniques and historic materials were used to create a specimen, which is very similar to real historic buildings. One of its features is the possibility of defined moistening. "Obelix" is standing in a basin, allowing the simulation of ascending moisture and it contains several tubes, which enable a complete moisture penetration in some parts.

The specimen is particularly well suited for the investigation of moisture and salt transport and for the development or testing of sensors.

5.6 CHEF website

A project website has been established (www.chef., offering an overview about the project and its work packages. Anyone interested is invited to get into contact with the consortium members and to get informed about recent project activities.

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Survival Basics

This is common knowledge that disaster is everywhere. Its in the streets, its inside your campuses, and it can even be found inside your home. The question is not whether we are safe because no one is really THAT secure anymore but whether we can do something to lessen the odds of ever becoming a victim.

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