In June 2013, widespread flooding and consequent damage and losses occurred in Central Europe, especially in Germany. This paper explores what data are available to investigate the adverse impacts of the event, what kind of information can be retrieved from these data and how well data and information fulfil requirements that were recently proposed for disaster reporting on the European and international levels. In accordance with the European Floods Directive (2007/60/EC), impacts on human health, economic activities (and assets), cultural heritage and the environment are described on the national and sub-national scale. Information from governmental reports is complemented by communications on traffic disruptions and surveys of flood-affected residents and companies.
Overall, the impacts of the flood event in 2013 were manifold. The study reveals that flood-affected residents suffered from a large range of impacts, among which mental health and supply problems were perceived more seriously than financial losses. The most frequent damage type among affected companies was business interruption. This demonstrates that the current scientific focus on direct (financial) damage is insufficient to describe the overall impacts and severity of flood events.
The case further demonstrates that procedures and standards for impact data collection in Germany are widely missing. Present impact data in Germany are fragmentary, heterogeneous, incomplete and difficult to access. In order to fulfil, for example, the monitoring and reporting requirements of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 that was adopted in March 2015 in Sendai, Japan, more efforts on impact data collection are needed.