The Red Cross and the University of Twente have presented a research chair in name of Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, on the occasion of her 75th birthday. The Princess Margriet Research Chair will be established within the ITC Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation at the University of Twente and will focus its research activities around the theme of Spatial Resilience for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The chairwoman of the Dutch Red Cross, Ms Inge Brakman, has presented the research chair on behalf of the Red Cross and the University of Twente on 19 January 2018, during the performance of Introdans in honor of her 75th birthday. Princess Margriet has been associated with the Red Cross since 1966 and is an honorary chair of the aid organization.
The appointment procedure for installing a new professor for the Princess Margriet research chair will be announced shortly. The purpose of the research chair is to strengthen the knowledge base on natural disasters and climate change for disaster management, as well to enhance the impact of humanitarian aid in the area of disaster management. Research findings will be applicable in the daily practice of the Red Cross activities, which are increasingly aiming at building resilience in communities against natural disasters.
The research chair will be established within the ITC Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation of the University Twente, and is in line with five current research chairs at the university in the domain of natural disasters, risk management and risk reduction. ITC has its mission in capacity development, with an overlap in the focusing countries with the work of the Red Cross. The Red Cross will benefit from the research outcomes and apply it directly in its humanitarian work. At the same time, the research chair will benefit from knowledge from the Red Cross practice, for example on how people can prepare for extreme weather conditions, and on innovative methods to collect local data on disaster vulnerabilities.
330 billion dollar damage
Annually, many natural disasters take place, leading to an estimated 330 billion dollar worth of damage (according to reinsurance company MunichRe). The most vulnerable communities are often affected most. As a result of climate change and population growth, the impact of natural disasters will be more severe and will occur more often in the near future. The Red Cross is committed to prepare people better for the occurrence of natural disasters, to diminish their impact.
Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet started as a Red Cross helper first class (nurse) in 1966 and has been vice chairwoman for the board of the Dutch Red Cross for twenty years, until January 2011. As a recognition of her tireless efforts, the Red Cross has set up a personal fund, the Red Cross Princess Margriet Fund, which focuses specifically on prevention of disasters. Now, the Princess Margriet research chair has also been established.