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Extreme levels of flood risk were announced in western Germany earlier this week. Professor Hannah Kluck believes that people did not realize the danger, and she points to a failure in the system.


– I was expecting people to evacuate, you don’t expect to see many people dying from floods in 2021. This is very dangerous, Politico said.

Politico write it European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) on Tuesday this week announced a “severe flood”.

Professor of Hydrology at the University of Reading in the UK, Hannah Kluck, who has also been associated with EFAS, believes the high death toll and all missing persons represent a “major system failure”.

– Not in spite of father

EFAS issued a warning in “extreme category,” says Kluck.

– This does not mean that you have to evacuate. It is up to the authorities. But usually, if you know there is a risk to life, and you know where this is going to happen, make sure you are able to evacuate. This is how emergency preparedness works

Clearly, people did not understand the danger, Kluck believed.

The sight of people driving or wading through deep flood waters fills me with fear. This is the most dangerous thing you can do during a flood.

The German Meteorological Institute (DWD) said it has sent a severe warning to local authorities. In some places, residents were asked to leave their homes, while in others there was no message.

A federal authority like DWD is not responsible for starting an eviction or taking other measures right away, it’s important to local authorities, says Uwe Kirsche, a spokesperson for DWD, according to Politico.

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Armin Laschet, Angela Merkel’s successor as CDU leader, says authorities received a warning, but that “the sun was shining at the same time and no one expected it”.

Major damage: The city of Erfstadt, in the Rhineland-Palatinate state, was hit hard by the flood disaster. Photo: Michael Probst/Associated Press

Test alarm did not work

German picture He writes that on September 20 last year it became clear that Germany had an alarm problem.

The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disasters (BBK) has been responsible for the NINA alert app since 2015. Its purpose is to provide quick warnings in the event of a disaster, and the app will complement things like sirens, messages over loudspeakers, and messages in the radio.

On the so-called “Day of Alarm” in September, the warning in the country was at stake. Bild wrote that app users were supposed to receive the notification at 11am, but the alarm didn’t go off.

The Great Forces: In Erfstadt, an entire street was flooded with houses and cars. Photo: Sebastien Buzon/AFP

BBK admitted that the day was a “failure” and stated that the test alarm had not been triggered due to a technical error. The Ministry of Interior, which is affiliated with the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait, has promised to carefully examine it.

The head of BBK Christoph Unger had to pursue the scandal, and Armin Schuster took the position. In March, Schuster promised to improve civil protection in Germany and to reorganize the BBK.

Bild wrote that a new “alarm day” was scheduled for September, but was pushed back to a year later.

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Norwegian instead of European notification

In Norway, the Norwegian Directorate of Water Resources and Energy (NVE) is responsible for flood warning.

We have a national flood warning that covers the entire state. It differs from Germany in that it is more divided, says Eric Holmqvist, a hydrologist on duty at the NVE flood warning.

He says Norway, like Germany, also receives alerts from the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS).

– But we have our own system that we use in operational notification. What we use ourselves contains much more detail than what we get from the European system.

NVE is analyzing the situation in Norway on a daily basis and assessing whether flood warnings should be issued.

The alert level – green, yellow, orange or red – is determined based on the probability of damage. According to Holmqvist, emergency preparedness is often implemented at the orange level.

We send a notice, and those who receive the notification, such as municipalities, county governors and emergency services, assess whether further measures are needed and implement emergency preparedness. We also have a regional office where professionals can help in this area, he says.

Many flood-prone municipalities have mapped their own flood zones or received maps from NVE. Holmqvist adds that they have a good idea of ​​the most exposed areas in their municipality.