6 Jul 2016

An integrated concept providing safety and creating economic value for 1 million people 

Recently Royal HaskoningDHV presented a Coastal Protection Strategy for reducing flood risks for the City of Tacloban and the Municipality of Palo in the Philippines to the Mayor of Tacloban. The area was hit catastrophically by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, the world's strongest typhoon. The Strategy combines nature-based with infrastructural solutions to render the area ‘future proof’. The presentation was attended by authorities from Palo as well as by various Ministries.

Reducing flood risks for Tacloban and Palo
People living and working along the coastal zones of Tacloban and Palo.


The Coastal Protection Strategy provides an integrated concept for the short-, mid- and long-term, most importantly providing safety and creating economic value for the 1 million people in the area. It is adaptive, flexible towards the area’s development and is adjustable to the impacts of climate change. It provides insight into potential funding options for a range of risk reduction measures consisting of a unique combination of maintenance and restoration of mangroves and other ecosystems, alongside infrastructural responses, following the Building with Nature philosophy.

The Strategy also suggests how to best integrate these concepts into eco-smart coastal zones and urban landscape planning and management. During the course of the project Stakeholder working sessions were held in a transparent and open process. The response to the plan is positive and attendees at the Strategy presentation all expressed their intent to implement the recommendations.

The Strategy is the result of successful 9-month cooperation between the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), their counterpart, the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and a multi-disciplinary team with other experts including Deltares, Arcadis, Wetlands International, Red Cross, Rebel and Van Oord.

Reducing flood risks for Tacloban and Palo
Boats at low tide along Palo’s coastal protection structures.


RVO commissioned this project in the framework of the Dutch Risk Reduction Team (DRR-Team) an initiative of the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Infrastructure and the Environment and the water sector. The mission of the DRR-Team is to advise governments on how to resolve urgent water issues related to flood risks, water pollution and water supply, to prevent disasters or to rebuild after water related disasters.

“A large number of local, regional and national organizations have a vested interest in the coastal zone area and their cooperation is critical for its successful implementation in Tacloban and Palo,” said George Peters, team leader at Royal HaskoningDHV. “A strategy alone will however not protect communities. The next steps that need to be taken will truly determine the difference that a strategy could make in time,” added Mr Peters.

Sandra Cats, Project manager for the Netherlands Enterprise Agency outlines these next steps: “In the short-term, emergency response activities and facilities need to be improved and in some areas the construction of flood defense could provide more safety. In the longer term crucial decisions need to be made in respect of the area’s planning and zoning.”

“The end result is much more than a technical solution for a flood protection structure, it is a long-term sustainable development strategy for the entire area, especially for the people of Tacloban and Palo,” Ms Cats concluded.