It is a sad but remarkable fact that the circumstances which led to the recent flooding disaster in New Orleans were amazingly similar to those leading to the 1953 flooding disaster in the Netherlands. In the years preceding this event, it became clear to an expert like dr.ir. Johannes van Veen that the risk of flooding in the Southwest of the Netherlands was unacceptably high. In his capacity as responsible manager of Rijkswaterstaat for navigation and safety in this region, he started to realize that the exceedance probabilities of flooding were as high as 1 in 100 to 1 in 200 years. As his knowledge about extreme water levels grew due to the routine registrations of water levels that he initiated right after the ending of WWII, his concerns nearly became an obsession. He warned his superiors for years, but they were not open...

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