Managing Debris Flow Risks

Zimmermann, Markus N. (2004). Managing Debris Flow Risks. Mountain Research and Development, 24(1), pp. 19-23. International Mountain Society 10.1659/0276-4741(2004)024[0019:MDFR]2.0.CO;2

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Debris flows represent a widespread threat to villages and small towns in the Swiss Alps. For many centuries people “managed” such risks by trying to avoid hazardous areas. However, major debris flow and flood events in the last 25 years have revealed that the degree of freedom to engage in this type of risk management has substantially decreased. This became especially evident during the 1999 disasters in a number of places in Switzerland. The winter of that year was unusually wet. In February heavy snowfall triggered destructive avalanches. In May high temperatures caused heavy snowmelt, with excessive rainfall contributing more water to the already saturated soils. Landslides, debris flows and floods were triggered in many locations, including Sörenberg. Hazard prevention and disaster management have a long tradition in Switzerland, although an integrated approach to risk management is rather new. Only in recent years have methods and tools been developed to assess hazards, define protection goals, and implement disaster reduction measures. The case of Sörenberg serves as an example of how today's approaches to disaster reduction are implemented at the local level.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Geomorphology

UniBE Contributor:

Zimmermann, Markus

ISSN:

0276-4741

Publisher:

International Mountain Society

Language:

English

Submitter:

Silvia Käser

Date Deposited:

17 Sep 2015 14:12

Last Modified:

05 Mar 2016 18:36

Publisher DOI:

10.1659/0276-4741(2004)024[0019:MDFR]2.0.CO;2

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.71708

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/71708

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