The reliability of transport infrastructure is of paramount importance for the mobility of both the civilian population, as well as for the mobility professional rescue and relief teams. Likewise, said infrastructure is pivotal in the midst of a disaster and in the aftermath during rehabilitation. As shown by the June 2013 floods in Germany, such disaster events are in actuality international nature in the sense that occur over vast swathes of land and beyond borders. The event furthermore showed that even those regions which are constantly flooded, can be overwhelmed and their built-up infrastructure, in spite of pre-existing so-called flood provisions, can suffer tremendously nonetheless. The overarching goal of the FloodEvac joint project is to improve the safety of people and critical infrastructure in an international context in the event inland flooding. The primary research itself aims to improve upon or develop new methods, technologies, and processes in order to better evaluate transport infrastructure: which itself plays a critical role in the supplying and evacuating of civil populations.
In this specific sub-project called “Catastrophe and Culture,” the Disaster Research Unit (DRU) is developing a conceptual framework for researching catastrophe culture(s). This framework focuses particularly on climate-imposed hazards and is to be tested through empirical surveys of past floods in India and Germany. Since catastrophe culture contextually frames the human behavior in disasters and in disaster prevention, a goal of the sub-project is to acquire reflexive insights through the comparative analysis of disaster cultures in general, and specifically as it is manifested during extreme flooding events in India and Germany. These surveys will aid in developing an understanding of cultural foundations, which in turn is essential to the development and implementation of technological solutions in differing cultural contexts. Overall, the results and insights of this research serve to deepen the understanding of the cultural foundations and operating conditions of the heterogeneous and federally organized disaster management services in Germany.
The following goals are being pursued as per the sub-project’s framework:
- To theorize and conduct of basic research on catastrophe culture
- To generate a conceptual framework for catastrophe culture
- To develop an applicable methodology so as to enable an empirical application of the conceptual framework
- To specifically investigate the 2013 European (Elbe) floods as well as investigate a comparable event in India
- To comparatively analyze the disaster cultures as present in India and Germany
- To develop a foundation for the culturally-sensitive development and implementation of technological solutions