510 TEAMTERVIEW AGATHE BUCHERIE

Agathe Bucherie was a master student in Hydrology and Disaster Risk Management. And starting the end of May 2019 she will be the technical project manager & trainer in 510 for Forecast Based Financing projects.

How did you hear about 510?

Long story before 510! I am a geoscientist as background, and I graduated in 2009 with a master’s degree from IPGP, a French Research Institute specialised in Earth Observation and Prevention of Disasters. After height years working as geologist in the energy industry, internationally, I felt I should better use my skills and energy to work for people, and for projects that linked up better with my values and initial interests. Indeed, I decided to study again at IHE-Delft, an international programme aiming at finding solutions for water-related risks, water resources and sanitation problems in developing country, and I enrolled in parallel in a Disaster risk management online certificate from TISS and IFRC institute with the objective to discover Red Cross and the humanitarian world. During my study I meet Marc Van Den Homberg from 510, lecturing at my institute. I immediately found the vision of 510 very powerful, and inspiring for my research project. I then worked on building my Msc thesis project proposal with 510 data team.

What project are you currently working on?

My Master thesis project was about the predictability of Flash Floods and their impacts in North Malawi. I started my research with a field data collection in the Northern part of Malawi, affected by those very fast and damaging types of flood. With Malawi Red Cross Team, we conducted interviews at national and district levels, and organised focus group discussions in villages to gather information about flood occurrence, severity, impacts, root causes and indigenous knowledge on the signs observed before flood events. The objective of my thesis was to integrate local knowledge, open source data, GIS-based and remote sensing technologies to build an understanding of the factors increasing the probability of occurrence of flash floods. I extracted geomorphologic, and global hydro-meteorological indicators based on local knowledge, and I analysed how they can help to predict flash flood occurrence and impacts, and potentially be linked to emergency preparedness actions. I am now going to work with 510 Team on the development and implementation of forecast based financing methodologies.

510’s purpose is ‘Improve speed, quality and cost-effectiveness of humanitarian aid by using data & digital.’ How are your skills helping 510 reach its purpose?

With increasing inequality, vulnerable population, conflicts and climate change, initiatives like 510 global are unfortunately going to be more and more solicited by humanitarian aid. Meaningful data are key to better prepare for increasing disasters and crisis, but data availability and monitoring inequality in the world will be the main challenge for the next years. As hydrologists/geoscientists, we can help to develop expertise at the interaction between Earth, Water, Climate and Society, in cooperation with research institutes, with the objective to improve weather related hazard predictability. The evaluation of open source historical data and global hydrological model forecast are critical, as well as data collection in the ground, to improve disaster preparedness.

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