Hydro-meteorological events are considered the most relevant natural hazards in Germany. Severe storms cause the highest numbers of people injured or killed and the greatest economic damages. In addition extensive inundations caused by increased precipitation pose a great threat to lives and livelihoods due to their frequency and great damage potential. In spite of a low occurrence probability, earthquakes have a high damage potential in the densely settled areas of central and southern Germany.
Due to the limited number of hazards, its economic strength and political stability Germany is generally not considered as a high risk prone country. The dense settlement structures throughout the territory and especially the highly concentrated urban agglomerations however have a high inherent damage potential.
Germany’s civil protection structure used to be divided between responsibilities on national level in case of a military attack and on state (Laender) level in times of peace (e.g. in case of emergencies related to natural hazards). This division was overhauled in 2004 through the creation of the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) which now functions as a coordinating body of all national and state level actors in the field civil protection. The relevance to invest in preventive and preparedness measures to reduce the damages of natural and man-made hazards is recognized by government and non-government actors. One of the challenges that Germany faces in the area of civil protection is the shift in volunteer engagement patterns. Demographic change, greater job and social mobility require innovative approaches to accommodate ad-hoc volunteers that are not necessarily committed to the relief institutions for longer periods of times.
- National Statistic Administration (D-STATIS)
Past disaster events
- EM-DAT listing of disaster events in Germany
- Disaster statistics from UN-ISDR and CRED
- Risk country profile from Index for Risk Management
- Disaster response and management data from ReliefWeb
Germany’s risk rankings
- Place 146. in country at risk ranking, World Risk Report 2012
Risk profiles and data
- Climate Data Center (CDC)
- Interactive maps on hazards, vulnerabilities and risks
- Hazards and other thematic maps
Government legislation and policies
- Hyogo Framework for Action Progress Reports (in German) –
- Law for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (in German) -
- German Committee for Disaster Reduction (DKKV) within the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), focal point for HFA
Red Cross + civil society
- IFRC appeals and info bulletins for Germany
- German Red Cross – homepage, IFRC listing of contact info
- German Committee for Disaster Risk Reduction (DKKV)
- Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK)
- German Weather Service (DWD) from the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development
- Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), Ministry of the Interior
- Arbeiter Samariter Bund (ASB), German aid and welfare organisation, engaged in areas such as civil protection, rescue services and social welfare services
- Centre on Climate Impacts and Adaptation (KomPass), Federal Environment Agency
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