Students of the joint Master programme “Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security” by UNU-EHS and the University of Bonn went on an excursion to Rotterdam this week. They were welcomed by Sjaak Seen, the Operational Leader of the local Multidisciplinary Crisis Team, at the World Port Centre. The Rotterdam-Rijnmond Safety Region, for which Mr. Seen is responsible, combines a dense population of 1.2 million people and a buzzing industry, with Europe’s largest port handling about 400 million tons of cargo annually.
Mr. Seen, together with his colleague Frans van Keulen, Chief External Relations Officer at the Port of Rotterdam Authority, explained to the students in great detail the security concept of the port and the region which is based on three pillars: safety, resilience, and community involvement. Continuously updated risk analyses and risk profiles allow for preparedness against several worst case scenarios, e.g. severe floods or fires at the chemical storage sites in the port.
The excursion also led the students to a local fire station, where they were able to get their hands on real equipment used by the fire brigade, further fostering their understanding of risk protection and disaster management.