31 May 2024
 | 31 May 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Sensitive infrastructures and people with disabilities – Key issues when strengthening resilience in reconstruction

Alessa Truedinger, Joern Birkmann, Mark Fleischhauer, and Celso Ferreira

Abstract. The flood disaster of July 2021 claimed the lives of more than 220 people in Western and Central Europe – particularly severely affected was the Ahr Valley in Germany, where the floods caused at least 135 fatalities, damaged and destroyed more than 9,000 buildings, and caused billions of euros in damage. To prevent such a disaster from happening again, it is crucial not to simply rebuild, but to build up in a way that strengthens resilience to future events. Since time and money are often critical issues in the reconstruction process, it is important to focus on most vulnerable groups as well as critical and sensitive infrastructures, as these need particular attention and support for risk reduction and resilience building within the recovery process. The paper systematizes how critical and sensitive infrastructures are defined. It explores – based on the Ahr Valley flood disaster – how sensitive infrastructures can be identified and how they are treated and discussed in the recovery process. In addition, an easy-to-use framework for risk assessment and the subsequent selection of necessary measures is being developed. A detailed application of the framework assessment is carried out with regard to a school for children with disabilities that is located directly at the river Ahr.

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Alessa Truedinger, Joern Birkmann, Mark Fleischhauer, and Celso Ferreira

Status: open (until 12 Jul 2024)

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Alessa Truedinger, Joern Birkmann, Mark Fleischhauer, and Celso Ferreira
Alessa Truedinger, Joern Birkmann, Mark Fleischhauer, and Celso Ferreira


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Short summary
In post-disaster reconstruction, emphasis should be placed on critical and sensitive infrastructures. In Germany as in other countries, sensitive infrastructures have not yet been focused on – therefore, we developed a method for determining the risk sensitive infrastructures are facing in the context of riverine and pluvial flooding. The easy-to-use assessment framework can be applied to various sensitive infrastructures, e.g. to qualify and accelerate decisions in the reconstruction process.