Texas is looking to the Netherlands for help in preparing for the next major storm.
In 1953, a flood from the North Sea killed over 1,800 people – almost equal to how many died in Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Since then, the Dutch have developed one of the safest coastlines in the world with sand dunes and five storm-surge barrier gates.
Kiah Collier reports on energy and the environment for The Texas Tribune, and says the Netherlands reacted immediately to that flood more than half a century ago.
“It was a very massive event, and after that they said ‘No more. We’re going to basically guard our citizens from the sea,’” Collier says. “And they then embarked on this massive public works project that brought about five, giant storm-surge barriers.”
Now the Netherlands is advising the Army Corps of Engineers in its work to protect the Texas Gulf Coast. The Coastal Barrier System near Houston will cost approximately $20 billion, and is meant to protect some of the largest oil refineries in the country, Collier says. It’s part of a larger storm-protection plan for the entire Texas Gulf Coast that will cost about $32 billion total.
“The Houston area doesn’t have any kind of comprehensive protection system from hurricanes,” Collier says. “And scientists, particularly after Hurricane Ike in 2008 … they’ve been warning that we need to do something.”
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Written by Marina Marquez.