The new German Strategy for Building Resilience to Disasters
Last July 13, the Federal Council of Ministers has adopted the German Strategy for Building Resilience to Disasters. At the same time, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser presented her programme with the Federal Office for Civil Protection and the Federal Agency for Technical Relief.
“The experiences of recent years have shown how important it is for Germany to make its communities, its basic resources and its public services more resilient to the effects of disasters. This has been particularly highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic, the catastrophic floods of July 2021 and the war of aggression against Ukraine by Russia in violation of international law.
The German Strategy for Building Resilience to Disasters creates for the first time a common strategic framework for improved resilience. The Federal Government adopted it [last July 13] in the Council of Ministers. In order to adequately deal with existing and future risks, risk and crisis management at federal and state level must become even more closely interwoven and be seen as a permanent cross-cutting task in all policy areas.”
Post-disaster prevention, management and recovery
The strategy (“Resilienzstrategie”), following the guidance of UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement, contains cross-sectoral measures for disaster prevention, preparedness, management and recovery. These measures are aimed at risk management across the federal government, so that Germany is better prepared for future crises and can recover more quickly.
Better coordination of the work of the Federation, the Länder and the municipalities
The integrated support system of municipalities, the Federation and the Länder, which is characteristic of civil protection in Germany, provides a very good basis for building resilience. A multitude of actors interact in an efficient hazard protection chain: authorities, fire brigade, aid organisations, Federal Agency for Technical Relief. With 1.7 million people involved, most of them volunteers, the protection of the population is firmly anchored in civil society. The federal government is grateful for their commitment.
Modern warning systems
According to the Federal Minister of the Interior, modern warning systems such as Cell Broadcast, which sends targeted warnings directly to mobile phones, and the pooling of all relevant information in the event of a crisis in the new Joint Competence Centre for Civil Protection are important elements. Unlike in the past, this centre will bring together all the players from the Federation, the Länder and the aid organisations around one table.
Ms Faeser also mentioned the acquisition of new emergency tent cities that can be set up very quickly and provide shelter, health care, electricity, water and mobility for up to 5,000 people.
KAHR (Climate Adaptation, Flood, Resilience)’s recommendations for flood resilience
Last July 14, the KAHR (Climate Adaptation, Flood, Resilience) research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) published 10 recommendations from the perspective of science on the topic of reconstruction and sustainability of flood-affected regions, to manage better flood risk after the flood disaster and make affected regions more resilient.
To remember, the flood event in July 2021 in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate caused by heavy rainfall is one of the largest flood disasters in Germany for decades, and KHAR is supporting the German government in the (re)construction process.
Here below or few of those recommendations:
“All potentials of flood modelling and risk analysis should be exploited for planning protection strategies and preparing and warning those affected. This also includes thinking in scenarios that were previously considered unthinkable: What would be the very worst case imaginable?”.
“Early warning of flood events must be strengthened. For example, effective warning systems should be reviewed and further developed so that they still function even in the event of a power failure”.
“Flood- and climate-resilient planning and building must be integrated at all levels of spatial planning and take into account all facets of climate change impacts.”
© Picture: Road tunnel restored in the Ahr Valley: one year after the floods, reconstruction continues in the region, © Picture alliance/dpa/Thomas Frey