The Netherlands is sending a water expert to Suriname, as part of its Dutch Risk Reduction-Team program (DRR-Team). Matthijs Kok, flood risk management expert, will assess the situation and provide advice to the Suriname authorities if and how a DRR-Team can address ongoing flooding challenges. Flooding in the country has been ongoing for several months. 

Situational Assessment

Matthijs Kok will travel to Suriname to provide a pre-scoping assessment into the current state of the flooding on behalf of the DDR-Team. Based on that pre-scoping, and in close collaboration between Suriname and Netherlands authorities, a decision will be made about potential future expert advice through the DRR-Team program. The assessment will start on July 1st and will include in-depth conversations with local stakeholders, including the National Coordination Centre for Disaster Management for Suriname (NCCR), the Ministry of Public Works and the WorldBank.

Matthijs Kok is currently professor of flood risk management / assessment at TU Delft and co-founder of HKV, a Dutch-based engineering consultancy firm with a specific expertise in (flood) water management.  Affiliated with the DRR-Team since the program’s inception, he has fulfilled advisory roles for flooding in New Orleans, Ireland, Bhutan and Vietnam.

Months of extreme rainfall conditions

After months of extreme rainfall, and subsequent flooding throughout the country, Suriname is in urgent need of solutions for the water excess. As a result of the rain, the Afobaka-dam – responsible for 60% of Suriname’s energy supply – is under increased pressure. To prevent a breach of the dam, the excess water has been released, causing additional flooding in the Brokopondo-district.

Other regions have also suffered from the floods and sheer volume of water. 7 of 10 districts were declared disaster areas by the National Government. Many residents were forced to evacuate and schools were forced to close. Additionally, crops have been lost and there are identified health risks due to the unsanitary water conditions. Finally, the floods have caused significant damage to local infrastructure, such as roads and public transportation.

Dutch Risk Reduction-Team

Dutch Risk Reduction-Team (DRR-Team) is a program that can be used by foreign governments to request support from the Netherlands for the mitigation or prevention of water-related risks in situations of urgent or eminent disasters, as is currently the case in Suriname.

A DRR-Team consists of water experts across the full scale of disciplines. The Team provides advice for potential short- and mid to long-term solutions and an action strategy on basis of short, rapid assessment missions.