Here Comes the Flood, but Not Failure? Lessons to Learn after the Heavy Rain and Pluvial Floods in Germany 2021

Fekete, Alexander and Sandholz, Simone, (2021). Here Comes the Flood, but Not Failure? Lessons to Learn after the Heavy Rain and Pluvial Floods in Germany 2021. Water, 13 1-21

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Fekete, Alexander
    Sandholz, Simone
    Title Here Comes the Flood, but Not Failure? Lessons to Learn after the Heavy Rain and Pluvial Floods in Germany 2021
    Appearing in Water
    Volume 13
    Publication Date 2021-10-27
    Place of Publication Basel
    Publisher MDPI
    Start page 1
    End page 21
    Language eng
    Abstract Floods are a known natural hazard in Germany, but the amount of precipitation and ensuing high death toll and damages after the events especially from 14 to 15 July 2021 came as a surprise. Almost immediately questions about failure in the early warning chains and the effectiveness of the German response emerged, also internationally. This article presents lessons to learn and argues against a blame culture. The findings are based on comparisons with findings from previous research projects carried out in the Rhein-Erft Kreis and the city of Cologne, as well as on discussions with operational relief forces after the 2021 events. The main disaster aspects of the 2021 flood are related to issuing and understanding warnings, a lack of information and data exchange, unfolding upon a situation of an ongoing pandemic and aggravated further by critical infrastructure failure. Increasing frequencies of flash floods and other extremes due to climate change are just one side of the transformation and challenge, Germany and neighbouring countries are facing. The vulnerability paradox also heavily contributes to it; German society became increasingly vulnerable to failure due to an increased dependency on its infrastructure and emergency system, and the ensuing expectations of the public for a perfect system.
    UNBIS Thesaurus GERMANY
    Keyword Flash flood
    Cascading impacts
    Compounding event
    Multi-risk
    Disaster risk management
    Copyright Holder The Authors
    Copyright Year 2021
    Copyright type Creative commons
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    Created: Thu, 28 Oct 2021, 01:05:20 JST by Aarti Basnyat on behalf of UNU EHS