Planning of the 8th International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM8) started at the 7th Conference held in Leeds, UK, on September 15 – 17, 2017. The proposal from IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA, to host the ICFM8 was accepted and preparations started immediately. Under the leadership of the Local Organizing Committee, the ICFM8 was planned for August 17 – 19, 2020, under the title “ Lowering Risk by Increasing Resilience.”
And then came COVID-19. The pandemic has caused many events worldwide to be cancelled or postponed (from Olympics to professional meetings) due to imposed restrictions on travel and large gatherings. Many events have been modified to remove a live audience or be purely held over teleconference. We responded first by postponing the meeting in person for 2021 and then tried to organize ICFM8 as a virtual conference. Neither solution worked. With very hard feelings, the ICFM Ad Hoc Committee had to cancel the ICFM8.
However, not everything is cancelled: relationships are not cancelled; reading is not cancelled; dedication is not cancelled; imagination is not cancelled; conversations are not cancelled; and HOPE is not cancelled. Both years, 2020 and 2021, have been marked with reflection and change - some days feel good, and others feel strange. We are learning to work differently. We try to tune out the stress, but sometimes life still feels like a mess. We are trying to find ways to turn negatives into good and deal with new problems that we thought we never could. We are prevented from travelling and meeting in person. Our plans for ICFM8 have not been like we expected, but we’ve found new ways to stay connected. We had to make tough decisions. Things will get better because they usually do.
We decided to use this book of abstracts and one special ICFM webinar on August 10, 2021 “instead of ICFM8”. The book provides the summary of activities around the organization of ICFM8 and more than 160 abstracts accepted for the presentation at ICFM8 (out of a total 380). We are looking forward. With the publication of this book and the organization of the special ICFM webinar on August 10, 2021 we are starting the preparations for the ICFM9 in Tsukuba, Japan on February 22-24, 2023.