25 Sep 2013
Mathijs van Ledden in Bangkok during the 2011 floods. Copyright: Royal HaskoningDHV
Mathijs van Ledden in Bangkok during the 2011 floods. Copyright: Royal HaskoningDHV

Mr. Mathijs van Ledden, Business Development Director for Flood Risk Reduction at Royal HaskoningDHV has been selected by the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) to become a member of their emergency response teams which are deployed during, and after natural disasters.

UNDAC helps the United Nations and governments of disaster-affected countries during the first phase of a sudden-onset emergency, mostly in the event of a natural disaster, when a disaster-affected country requests international assistance and requires additional international coordination resources.

Mr. Peter Muller, Humanitarian Affairs Officer at the UN: "We selected Mathijs van Ledden to take part in the UNDAC induction course 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".

Mr. Van Ledden said: "After training, I could be called away at a moment’s notice to anywhere in the world. This is a wonderful opportunity to help people and governments at a time when they are most in need".

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 the company 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 Modeling at Delft University of Technology.

Giving back to society

Mr. Naren Bhojaram, River Deltas & Coasts Director at Royal HaskoningDHV: "We are extremely proud of our professional staff who are passionate about 'giving something back to society' and sharing their skills and expertise in troubled times".

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. In 2012 alone UNDAC teams were deployed in numerous emergency missions including flood disasters in Nigeria, Paraguay and Comoros.