Policy ForumDisaster Management

Flood Risk in Central Europe

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Science  16 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5622, pp. 1099
DOI: 10.1126/science.1083624

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Several extreme floods have occurred in Central European rivers (including the Rhine, Danube, Odra, and Wisla), culminating in the disastrous August 2002 flood in the Elbe River basin and parts of the Danube basin. Rough cost estimates for the Elbe 2002 flood alone are ~$3 billion in the Czech Republic and >$9 billion in Germany--the worst flood ever in Europe. In this Policy Forum, the Elbe 2002 flood is described in its historical context. Future flood protection and prevention planning must also consider the potential role of global warming in severe flooding of this kind.