Flooding in 2021

Aid for flood-hit area

How DMT Safeguard contributed to safety in the flood-hit Rhine-Erft district.

07. July 2022

One year on: the flood disaster of July 2021 had drastic consequences for the residents of the affected towns and villages. It destroyed roads, houses and livelihoods and took the lives of more than 180 people in Germany alone. TÜV NORD subsidiary DMT provided disaster relief in one of the affected areas, the Rhine-Erft municipality, using a special monitoring method to do so.

Mid-July 2021: In the Rhine-Erft district, which was severely affected by flooding, a number of houses balanced on the edge of a rift in the ground had collapsed. Residents, helpers and workmen and women were all anxiously waiting for an answer to the same question: were other houses also at risk of collapsing? When would certain buildings be safe to enter once again? It was a critical situation which urgently needed a sound, facts-based assessment: one which the experts from DMT were perfectly positioned to deliver. “We quickly arrived at the site of the disaster. Providing real help at very short notice is something to be proud of,” says Karsten Zimmermann, geomonitoring expert at DMT. He and his team of experts from various disciplines were part of a hastily convened crisis management body, which first met online before gathering at the site.

„We quickly arrived at the site of the disaster. Providing real help at very short notice is something to be proud of.“

Karsten Zimmermann, geomonitoring expert at DMT

Sensitive sensors

When TÜV NORD subsidiary DMT is asked for risk assessments in the mining, building and civil engineering or environmental monitoring fields, its clients are usually interested in plannable safety concepts. And yet, rapid analyses, which must be just as reliable, are also required in the event of incalculable natural disasters such as floods or landslides. It is for this reason that the DMT experts turned to Safeguard in this flood-hit region, as they have elsewhere. The monitoring system measures even the smallest movements or vibrations and uses the collected data to evaluate risks in the subsoil. Ground movements, vibrations, building deformations and seismicity are constantly monitored and analysed with the aid of sensors. Data can be evaluated and shared very quickly. The specialists use these data in their risk assessment: this benefits, for example, first responders such as THW, Germany’s disaster response organisation, and the fire brigade, alongside the geological service and official bodies, construction experts and, if the situation demands, the general public.

DMT has been continuously refining Safeguard for more than a decade. This proven monitoring procedure collates data centrally and securely. It uses Web View to render them visible and can trigger alarms. In the Rhine-Erft district, it gave people not only a sense of security but also new hope.


About Karsten Zimmermann:

Karsten Zimmermann is a geomonitoring expert at DMT. With his team of experts, he helped out in July 2021 as part of a crisis team during the floods in the Rhine-Erft district.