Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/nhess-2016-133
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
22 Apr 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper for further review has not been submitted.
New insights into flood warning and emergency response from the perspective of affected parties
Heidi Kreibich1, Ina Pech2, Kai Schröter1, Meike Müller3, and Annegret H. Thieken2 1GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 5.4 Hydrology, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
2University of Potsdam, Institute of Earth and Environmental Science, Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24-25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
3Deutsche Rückversicherung AG, NatCat-Center, Hansaallee 177, 40549 Düsseldorf, Germany
Abstract. Early warning is essential for protecting people and mitigating damage in case of flood events. However, early warning is only helpful if the parties at risk are reached by the warning, if they believe the warning and if they know how to react appropriately. Finding suitable methods for communicating helpful warnings to the "last mile" remains a challenge. To gain more knowledge, surveys were undertaken after the August 2002 and the June 2013 floods in Germany, asking affected private households and companies about warnings they received and emergency measures they undertook. Results show that in 2002 early warning did not work well: in many areas warnings came late or were imprecise. Many people (27 %) and companies (45 %) stated that they had not received any flood warning. Additionally, preparedness of private households and companies was low before 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 the flood warning systems in Germany. In 2013 only a small share of the affected people (7 %) and companies (7 %) were not reached by any warning. Additionally, also 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 26 % in 2013. However, there is still room for improvement. Therefore, integrated early warning systems from monitoring through to the reaction of the affected parties as well as effective risk and emergency communication need continuous further improvement.

Citation: Kreibich, H., Pech, I., Schröter, K., Müller, M., and Thieken, A. H.: New insights into flood warning and emergency response from the perspective of affected parties, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2016-133, in review, 2016.
Heidi Kreibich et al.
Heidi Kreibich et al.

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Short summary
Early warning is essential for protecting people and mitigating damage in case of flood events. To gain more knowledge, surveys were undertaken after the 2002 and the 2013 floods in Germany. Results show that early warning and preparedness improved a lot. However, integrated early warning systems from monitoring through to the reaction of the affected parties as well as effective risk and emergency communication need continuous further improvement.
Early warning is essential for protecting people and mitigating damage in case of flood events....
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