After fatal floods, German authorities face criticism for lack of preparation
The tragic toll of death and destruction triggered by severe flooding across a large region of Germany is raising awareness of the need for preparation to withstand potentially catastrophic weather events — especially with the increasing impacts of climate change. Even with a forecast of extraordinarily heavy rainfall, the communication systems, public safety operations and infrastructure were inadequate to avert extensive damage and loss of life. Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of environmental engineering, says the crux of the problem is a lack of ability to make infrastructure systems more agile and flexible in response to environmental changes. The remedy will need to involve rethinking of not only how infrastructure is designed but also the ways it is financed, governed and managed, Chester says.
See Also: As Disasters Spiral, Cities Confront Need for Climate Adaptation, Bloomberg CityLab + Green, July 20
Fulton Schools Associate Professor Mikhail Chester says the U.S. must deal with its “Band-Aided” infrastructure, a result of years of disinvestment and neglect. The country must “make surgical investments and triage like wartime” in response to challenging changes in climate trends and their environmental impacts, says Chester, director of ASU’s Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering.