PRESS STATEMENT: INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR DISASTER RISK REDUCTION
PROF. DR. TIMO HEINISCH: THE NECESSARY FLOOD PROTECTION HAS NOT YET BEEN IMPLEMENTED ACROSS THE BOAR
Erfurt, 12 October 2021 - 13 October is the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, launched by the United Nations. The disasters to be avoided internationally are very diverse and are described on a UN website: pandemics, tsunamis or forest fires. In Germany, the focus is currently on flood protection following the events in the Ahr valley. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Timo Heinisch, Professor of Civil Engineering at IU International University of Applied Sciences, puts the topic in context:
"In German cities, communities and properties, we have not yet reached the necessary flood protection. Yet climate change is increasing the risk of flooding, which in extreme cases can cost lives and cause billions in damage.
The current flood hazard maps of Germany show the weak points: not all areas are yet prepared for the extreme weather events that statistically occur about every 100 years. Protection for the hazard areas should be established more quickly than has been the case so far: firstly, natural retention for water should be used, secondly, technical protection devices should be built and thirdly, flood prevention and proper alerting should be put into practise.
Looking abroad and exchanging best practices, which is also called for by the UN, can help in disaster prevention. For example, Switzerland has defined a so-called watercourse area: this is the space that a body of water should have in order not to endanger buildings even during floods and to enable ecologically valuable water functions. Buildings that need object protection can already stand in this space, but no one is allowed to erect new buildings there - according to the motto "surface instead of concrete". We now need modern decision-making procedures in Germany to speed up the implementation of flood protection projects. The next flood won't wait until we have built up the protection".
A high-resolution image of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Timo Heinisch, Professor of Civil Engineering at IU International University, is available here.