This analysis provides insights on the aftermath of the weather system “Bernd”, which caused immense damage and inconceivable human suffering in several European countries in July 2021. The physical and also psychological recovery will require and hopefully stimulate change towards prioritizing resilience at all levels, from the personal to the local and communal administrational levels up to national and international policy. This forensic analysis focuses on the areas where improvements can be made but also highlights important elements that have gone well.
The analysis indicates challenges in forecasting dynamic summer weather and the failure of early warning systems to result in tangible actions at the local level. Limits in existing data meant the size of the event was not anticipated and flood zones, for example, were not properly delineated. Locals also lacked knowledge about the risks. The breakdown of critical lifeline infrastructure made response more difficult. There were elements that generally went well, including the large number of spontaneous volunteers, the good cooperation between response organizations at the technical level, relatively good weather forecasts, generous financial reconstruction aid and the swift and simplified process for reestablishing critical infrastructure.