GFZ German research centre for geo sciences

Lessons learned

Lessons Learned: Interdisciplinary survey of the Elbe flood

In the summer of 2002, heavy rainfall lead to strong flood waves e.g. of the Müglitz, Weißeritz, Mulde in the Erz Mountains and also to large flooded areas along the Elbe river. This flood ruined existences and destroyed substantial parts of the infrastructure in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The estimated loss amounted to about 12 billion Euros in Germany alone. Particularly unfortunate are the 36 fatalities (21 in Germany, 15 in Czech Republic). Initiated by the German Committee for Disaster Reduction (DKKV) a „lessons learned-process“ was carried out for the Elbe-flood. The result is an evaluation of the disaster experiences accounted and borne by all concerned persons. This analysis has two objectives:

  • Strategies and measures to reduce flood damages in the future were identified, specifically in regards to the upcoming reconstruction investments in the Elbe area.  
  • The flood precaution strategies in Germany have to be aligned to this up-to-date knowledge.

As a result, recommendations for a better flood risk management in Germany are developed. These recommendations for flood precaution differ from the available precaution guidelines mainly due to their authenticity won from the topicality. Thus they are in particular suitable to concretely influence the acting in the future.

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