On Tuesday April 25th, the colloquium “Hydrometeorological risks” was held at the Enrique d’Etigny auditorium. The event was organized by the FCFM’s Department of Civil Engineering and its Humanities Area and its speakers were James McPhee, professor of civil Engineering, AMTC researcher and Vice-dean of the FCFM; geologist Vanessa Rugiero, PhD student of Architecture and Urban Studies at PUC, and lawyer Pilar Moreno, researcher of the Center for Climate and Resilience Research (CR)2.
The colloquium aimed to answer several questions related to risks presented by droughts, floods and landslides in populated areas. After technically defining what “risk” is, the speakers said that we can talk about an increase of events recurrence or of risk situations that affect such areas. James McPhee informed that statistics show an increase of warm storms in Chile’s central area (related to floods and landslides) and of dry years in central and south Chile during the second half of the 20th century. Vanessa Rugiero added that we must also consider the accelerated and unregulated growth of cities, population increase in vulnerable areas, low awareness of the dangers climate change can cause in certain zones and reactive attitude towards disasters instead of managing prevention measures. Rugiero also highlighted the case of the metropolitan county of La Reina, whose urban regulating plan places houses too close to the Saint Ramón fault.
The speakers agreed that, in order to avoid future danger situations, it is necessary to do a risk assessment, redesign urban planning and territorial organization policies, and reconceptualize our notion of risk: to stop facing problems through reacting to disasters and deal with them from risk management, with a preventive approach.
This colloquium was the first of a series of events branded with the slogan “Engineering for a real world”.