MSc RISKS Weekend at Saint-Martin-Vésubie

  • Student life
Published on October 14, 2021 Updated on May 31, 2022
MSc Risks students during field trip
MSc Risks students during field trip

On the weekend of 1-3 October 2021, MSc Risks students from both years spent a weekend together in the alpine town of Saint-Martin-Vésubie.

With the help of Dennis Fox - the MSc Risks program director, and several locals from the town, the students learned about the destruction caused by the record rainstorm that hit the area in October 2021 - “Tempete Alex”.

The weekend started with a walk around the town guided by a local expert, who discussed the damages caused by the storm and how the local topography was affected.

The students were hosted at a local lodge-style accommodation, and the lodge owner shared with the students her experience during the storm, talked about how this disastrous event affected the town and discussed the recovery process required for a return to normalcy.

During the weekend, the students went on two hikes: the first was in the surrounding mountains which are part of the Mercantour National Park and included a visit to an alpine lake where the students could observe the hydrological dynamics of the area. The second hike was to the nearby village of Venanson, which has several picturesque lookout points where one can view the entire town of Saint-Martin-Vésubie.

Overall, the students gained a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of catastrophic storm events and of their potential role as environmental risks managers.

Extreme flooding events of this magnitude are historically separated by hundreds or even thousands of years, however due to global warming climatic patterns worldwide are changing. This results in the increased frequency and intensity of extreme events which in turn presents a need for experienced risks professionals, opening up a working niche for the students in the MSc Risks program.

The MSc Risks students' visit to Saint-Martin-Vésubie was mentioned in an article in the 20 minutes journal, available here