Every seventh building in Switzerland is at risk of flooding, and four out of five Swiss communities have been affected by floods within the past 40 years. Although floods can cause serious damage to those directly affected, most people tend to forget them rather quickly. Within a few years, they fade from the population’s consciousness.
This is set to change with the recent launch of the Collective Flood Memory project at the OCCR’s Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks. The project website publishes flood photos from all over Switzerland. The collection should continue to grow with the help of the general public, which is called upon to submit its own pictures on the interactive website.
“This project has several goals,” explains OCCR member Rolf Weingartner, Professor of Hydrology and Co-Director of the Mobiliar Lab. “On the one hand we want to remind people of flood risks, and on the other, flood patterns are an important source of information for experts and authorities when assessing dangers.” Existing hazard assessment tools, such as risk maps, are too abstract and hard to understand for non-specialists, according to Weingartner. Photos are much more helpful for people trying to imagine the effects of flooding.