Flood defence system still has cracks

Switzerland needs to do more to bolster its floodwater defence system, federal authorities said on Thursday.

This content was published on September 18, 2008 - 10:27

Three years after a deluge killed six people and caused SFr3 billion ($2.7 billion) in damage, the Federal Environment Office and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research have said the country needs more warning systems, protective structures and emergency teams at the ready.

The government in May 2007 had resolved to speed up measures against floods and other natural disasters but gaps still remain in implementing a coordinated effort.

"There may be comparable – and perhaps even worse – flooding in the future," said Environment Minister Moritz Leuenberger in a statement. In light of the 2005 disaster, he called for comprehensive measures to address prevention, management and regeneration.

The Environment Office also said man-made protective structures should only be utilised if natural barriers are inadequate.

In the autumn of 2009, the government will form a group of natural disaster observers to assist regional authorities with coordinating emergency measures.

Homeowners also need to be educated on what they can do to protect their property for relatively little cost.

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