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What if it goes wrong after all?


2 September 2008


Author: Carlos


Taken from: Sargasso.nl - Wat als het toch fout gaat?


"Be affraid... be affraid...
And get the hell out of Amsterdam!"


It is February 9, 2009 around noon. Outside a heavy storm swells up to very heavy, perhaps even hurricane strength. A moment ago the Mayor of Amsterdam Cohen summoned the population to leave the city as quickly as possible. Earlier that week above the Atlantic two storm depressions merged into one with the result that the Netherlands will be hit by a super storm. The coming of the storm coincides with the spring-tide. Extremely high tides are expected. At Petten a dike observer takes a worried look at how the waves already pound on the weakest link in the Dutch coastal defense: the Hondsbossche Zeewering. The nuclear facility in Petten is shut down as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile in the Dutch coastal provinces panic has broken out. Residents of the province of North Holland abandoned their homes: the A7 and A9 changed into a traffic jam connected to the A10 around Amsterdam. But after the message of Cohen also the A10 is congested. Everyone wants to leave as quickly as possible via the A2 to Utrecht or the A1 to Amersfoort to higher lands. The Dutch Railroads courageously declared at the beginning of the day that extra trains will be available. However due to the huge influx of passengers and the storm damage to the railway system, all services are suspended until further notice. There are reports about groups of people walking along the main roads.

Also in other major cities unrest and chaos spread: The Hague is empty, people leave Leiden and the inhabitants of Rotterdam ask themselves whether it is still safe. Despite the dam in the New Waterway they are worried. The road network in the Randstad is shut down by this exodus. Police and other traffic regulators flee once the situation that they first tried to manage becomes grim. In Alkmaar a police officer seems to be shot dead when trying to manage the flow on a highway junction.

Meanwhile darkness overtakes the Netherlands while the wind swells, but nobody knows how the country will be tomorrow...

The text above is fiction but it can become reality. The reports "If it goes wrong: Flood scenario plans" (2.2 million victims and possibly more than 10,000 deaths in coastal areas) and capacity analysis for the large-scale evacuation task (very limited evacuation options, response phase is not optimal) did make the government recognize that work must done on our coastline.

Tomorrow the Delta Commission presents its final advice to the Cabinet. In November large scale evacuations will be practiced. Sargasso did get exclusive maps from the report "If it goes wrong" so that you as a citizen expert now can draw your own conclusions about where to live and how fast you need to bike to stay ahead of the water.

For completeness we state emphatically that these are training scenarios drawn up for the Flood Management Task Force (TMO) which is currently in the broad context of the issue of residual risk of flooding and threat to public order and safety. In other words, there can no rights derived from these cards.

Flooding scenario The Netherlands in case of superstorm

More maps can be found here: Sargasso.nl - Wat als het toch fout gaat?