21 May 2014
Obrenovac damage assessment by boat. Copyright: UNDP
Obrenovac damage assessment by boat. Copyright: UNDP

Mr Mathijs van Ledden has been deployed by the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) as a member of their emergency response team to help flood-ridden Serbia.

Serbia requested the help of flood experts and the Dutch authorities decided to send Mathijs van Ledden. He has joined the UNDAC-team that helps the United Nations and the Serbian government to coordinate the (inter)national aid and help all Serbian people in need with water, food and sanitation.

As a member of the UNDAC Team Mr Van Ledden is assessing the flood situation and the levees to be able to advise on how to prevent new flooding. "Although the rain has stopped we expect the river water levels in some areas to rise. We need to make sure that the levees downstream can handle the water discharges" he said.
Mr Van Ledden is advising on emergency measures to reinforce hot spots in the levees and on additional pump capacity to effectively get the water out.

In everyday life Mr Van Ledden is Business Development Director for Flood Risk Reduction at international engineering consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV.

Mr Van Ledden was selected by UNDAC last year to join their emergency response teams at which occasion he said "This is a wonderful opportunity to help people and governments at a time when they are most in need".
Mr Peter Muller, Humanitarian Affairs Officer at the UN said: "We selected Mathijs van Ledden because of his technical background and experience with big floods. As water expert he can add great value working in an UNDAC team at water related disasters".

United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination

UNDAC teams can deploy at short notice (12-48 hours) anywhere in the world and are provided free of charge to the disaster-affected country.

New Orleans and Bangkok

Mr. Van Ledden (born in 1975) graduated at the Faculty of Civil Engineering at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands in 1998. He conducted an innovative PhD research project from 1999 to 2003 and joined Royal HaskoningDHV that same year. He was located in New Orleans from 2006 to 2010, as project manager at the New Orleans District assisting the US Army Corps of Engineers with the 100-year levee design around the city including the new large storm surge barriers.
Mr Van Ledden was active during hurricanes in New Orleans in an emergency response team and also during the Bangkok flooding in 2011.
Currently, he is Director Business Development Flood Risk Reduction and Leading Professional Flood Hazards at Royal HaskoningDHV and part-time Lecturer Hydraulic Engineering and Modelling at Delft University of Technology.