Launched in May 2017, the flooding preparedness programme ‘Our neighbourhood’s ready!’ came to an end on 14 March 2018.

During the 10 months it was active, PIROI and its partners focused their efforts on increasing the resilience of the most flood-prone residents of the six Major Flood Risk Areas of Reunion Island: Saint-Denis (Îlet Quinquina and the locality of La Colline), Sainte-Suzanne (Village Desprez and La Marine neighbourhoods), Saint-Benoit (Îlet Coco), Saint-Paul (Quartier Jacquot), Le Tampon (Bras-Creux neighbourhood), and Saint-Joseph (town centre).

This initiative aims to improve community services’ risk awareness and to prepare populations to adopt the right behaviour in the face of flood risk, and raised long-term awareness among more than 860 people.

The following is a brief 5-point overview of the programme’s highlights:

  • The project was the first joint undertaking between PIROI, the French Directorate for Environment, Planning Development & Housing (DEAL), and the six municipalities concerned.
  • The ‘Nout kartié lé paré!’ programme enabled the creation of a unique awareness-raising approach to flood risks in Reunion, including school outreach activities, personalised support for inhabitants of flood-prone neighbourhoods, fun awareness-raising workshops, and training on flood preparedness, in particular the ‘Behaviour to adopt in a flooded environment’ course.

The first of its kind in Reunion, the course was designed to inform both vulnerable local populations and professionals – such as municipal employees and teachers who have a key role to play in risk prevention – about early awareness of risks and the means to protect themselves, and literally immerses participants in a realistic flood simulation in a safe aquatic environment.

  • The project sensitised local populations by using various means of communication that were personalised and adapted to the particular demands and challenges of each neighbourhood: face-to-face training workshops, games, leaflets, booklets, social networks, radio, television, and a roadshow.
  • It enabled dissemination of the Family Safety Plan (FSP), aimed at reducing the vulnerability of flood-prone households in Reunion. The FSP handbook was specially commissioned for the project. It was complemented by the use of a serious game* focusing on floods, created to help communities prepare a Family Safety Plan.

The ‘Nout kartié lé paré!’ flood preparedness project thus enabled Reunion Island’s municipalities to work with PIROI to share preventive information with those who are vulnerable to climate-related hazards. It is a highly promising initiative that deserves to be renewed.

*A serious game is an activity that combines ‘serious’ intent – educational and informative for example – with entertaining elements.