Flooding prompts rethink on prevention

Swiss Environment Minister Doris Leuthard has visited parts of Switzerland hard hit by flooding caused by heavy rains and melting snow.

This content was published on October 13, 2011 - 08:57 and agencies

Leuthard inspected damage in the Lötschental and Kandertal valleys in southern and northern Switzerland, which along with Wilderswil in the Bernese Oberland and Leukerbad in canton Valais suffered significant material damage. Communities there could be assured of the government’s support, she said.

Damage in the worst parts was on a par with 2005 levels – when floods brought chaos to central Switzerland - but nationally the flooding caused only a fraction of the damage done six years ago.  


The government said flood prevention measures in place had “considerably reduced” material damage. However the national alert system needed to be improved. Cantons are responsible for sounding alerts for the smallest rivers such as the Kander and Lütschine and following the latest flooding the Federal Environment Office will review procedures.

The government added that it would also assess the meteorological situation that was behind the flooding, heavy snowfall, rising temperatures and the quick melt of snow cover.

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