A comparative survey of the impacts of extreme rainfall in two international case studies

Flooding is assessed as the most important natural hazard in Europe, causing thousands of deaths, affecting millions of people and accounting for large economic losses in the past decade. Little is known about the damage processes associated with extreme rainfall in cities, due to a lack of accurate, comparable and consistent damage data. The objective of this study is to investigate the impacts of extreme rainfall on residential buildings and how affected households coped with these impacts in terms of precautionary and emergency actions. Analyses are based on a unique dataset of damage characteristics and a wide range of potential damage explaining variables at the household level, collected through computer-aided telephone interviews (CATI) and an online survey. Exploratory data analyses based on a total of 859 completed questionnaires in the cities of Münster (Germany) and Amsterdam (the Netherlands) revealed that the uptake of emergency measures is related to characteristics of the hazardous event. In case of high water levels, more efforts are made to reduce damage, while emergency response that aims to prevent damage is less likely to be effective.

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