New insights into flood warning reception and emergency response by affected parties
Flood damage can be mitigated if the parties at risk are reached by flood warnings and if they know how to react appropriately. To gain more knowledge about warning reception and emergency response of private households and companies, surveys were undertaken after the August 2002 and the June 2013 floods in Germany. Despite pronounced regional differences, the results show a clear overall picture: in 2002, early warnings did not work well; e.g. many households (27 %) and companies (45 %) stated that they had not received any flood warnings. Additionally, the preparedness of private households and companies was low in 2002, mainly due to a lack of flood experience. After the 2002 flood, many initiatives were launched and investments undertaken to improve flood risk management, including early warnings and an emergency response in Germany. In 2013, only a small share of the affected households (5 %) and companies (3 %) were not reached by any warnings. Additionally, private households and companies were better prepared. For instance, the share of companies which have an emergency plan in place has increased from 10 % in 2002 to 34 % in 2013. However, there is still room for improvement, which needs to be triggered mainly by effective risk and emergency communication. The challenge is to continuously maintain and advance an integrated early warning and emergency response system even without the occurrence of extreme floods.