ESR 12

ESR 12 - Investigating the indirect impacts of floods with a focus on businesses and supply chains

Friederike Holz

Friederike Holz, home country Germany

Host Institute: Flood Hazard Research Centre (FHRC) at Middlesex University, London, UK

Contact details:
Middlesex University
The Burroughs
London NW4 4BT
United Kingdom
Tel: +44(0)2084114550


With growing levels of complexity in economic networks and markets, disruptive events (e.g. caused by natural hazards such as floods) can pose a threat to the viability of a business and cause impacts that go beyond losses in the directly and physically affected areas, for example induced by a loss of production or a shortage of goods. Due to interdependencies and interactions between different stakeholders in an economic network, such impacts can propagate through an entire system in a non-linear or even amplified way (cascading effects).

These indirect impacts can account for a significant part of the full costs of a disaster, but they are rarely comprehensively assessed and the underlying processes are still insufficiently understood. Thus, there is increased attention and a need for affected businesses, decision-makers and researchers to gather improved knowledge on the indirect impacts of disasters and their propagation along supply chains, within business networks, or into neighbouring systems.

My PhD research aims to contribute to an improved understanding of indirect flood impacts on businesses. To accomplish this aim, the main approach will be the development and testing of a computational modelling framework to simulate disruptions on businesses and related supply chains through flooding and to understand underlying processes. A network perspective will be applied that comprehensively includes relations and interdependencies between different system’s components, as well as behavioural aspects and changes such as reactions to changes in the system in response to a disruption. This includes elements from the fields of flood risk research, economics, supply chain (risk) management, complex adaptive systems and network analysis. For this purpose, the use of agent-based models (ABM) as a bottom-up approach is explored.