Central European floods 2013: a retrospective Zurich Insurance Group Limited

This paper was produced to coincide with the first anniversary of some of the worst floods to affect central Europe in recent memory. It focuses on flood resilience in Germany, looking at the 2013 floods, and comparing them with the floods of 2002. While taking into account certain universal aspects of flood resilience, it also offers insights regarding the impact the floods had on communities in Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. 

Section 1 provides an overview of the June 2013 flood event in terms of event severity and probability, people affected and losses sustained. Section 2 then compares this disaster with the flood of 2002, trying to understand what was similar and what was different and how it affected insured and economic losses. Section 3 provides insights from our field research. It highlights success stories, and makes a summary of ‘pressure points’ identified – issues that still need to be addressed. 

Section 4 offers a series of specific recommendations to enhance flood resilience, and suggestions how these can be implemented in the future. These are provided to raise awareness, increase preparedness, reduce vulnerability and help communities to become increasingly resilient and can be read as a general guideline to flood risk management in independence of the rest of the report. Section 5 focuses on our hypothetical example of a major flood event, the hypothetical ‘Flood of 2023,’ and describes the ensuing challenges and possible risks, as well as the efforts still required to improve overall flood resilience.

Central European floods 2013: a retrospective
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