Local Government Profile
Hazard and vulnerability profile
Lienz is the district capital of East Tyrol in the state Tyrol in Austira in the Central Eastern Alps. Its location (46° 50' N, 12° 46' E) is dominated by the ranges Hohen Tauern and Karnische Alpen and by the confluence of the Puster‐, Isle‐ and Drau valley. The combination of high relief energy and catchments node makes this location particularly prone to various natural hazards.
Over centuries recurrent devastating floods destroying buildings, bridges and other infrastructure. A series of
floods between August 1965 and November 1966 mark the high point of flood disasters in Lienz and constitute
a hydrological phenomenon world wide, when more than 200 mm precipitation were recorded within three
days of heavy rainfall.
Disaster Risk Reduction Activities
Essential 1 – Risk reducing organization and coordination in place
Progress and achievements – The organisation and coordination of disaster reduction in Lienz is handled by
the especially for this purpose installed Environment Department of the city of Lienz. This department takes on
environmental and disaster reduction agendas in equal parts. It coordinates the fire brigade, the mountain
rescue service, the water rescue service and the Red Cross service of Lienz. All these organisations work on a
voluntary basis. The city of Lienz has engaged in a very thorough process of participatory action and awareness
building that has lead to a strong sense of citizenship among its residents and hence created the base for
exceptionally strong voluntary action.
Furthermore, the Environment Department coordinates the exchange between these voluntary organisations
and governmental offices, health authorities and businesses throughout the region, organises workshops and
meetings for all involved stakeholders and identifies action points for further disaster risk management. Its
mayor achievement lies in the promotion of a strong sense of citizenship and the consequential mobilisation
and coordination of volunteers, which takes disaster reduction beyond the responsibilities of state or nation
wide bodies such as the police and emergency services.
Plans ‐ A formalisation of informal cooperation among respective disaster relief organisations across the region
is planned to further exchange of experience and expertise and pool rescources where needed and
Essential 2 – Budget assigned
Progress and achievements – The budget of the Environment Department covers 1.) the administration of civil
protection, 2.) implementation of appropriate meassures and 3.) environmental protection. It is a fix point
within the city budget.
Plans – An incentive scheme for homeowners to upgrade to landslide resistent outer walls is desireable
Essential 3 – Risk assessment prepared
Progress and achievements – The district and city of Lienz has undergone a very thorough risk assessment. This
comprises hazard zone maps, spatial development (land‐use) and building development plans, as well as a
dedicated risk analysis that describes 73 individually recognised risks. The risk analysis is based on a
participatory approach and specialised risk management software tool. The building plan is publicly accessible
and the public has a right to objection.
Essential 4 – Investment in risk reducing infrastructure
Progress and achievements – Substantial investments have been made in risk reducing infrastructure. Torrent
control measures have been implemented where necessary and the main rivers of Isel, Drau and
Wartschenbach have been equipped with flood retention basins. The sewage system is equipped with
retention basins for extrem precipitation events. Avalanche barriers have been errected where necessary.
Essential 5 – Safe schools and health facilities
Progress and achievements – All schools and health facilities are equipped with evacuation plans and perform
regular evacuation drills. All school and health facilities are checked for appropriate fire exits etc. Regulations
are enforced by Austrian national law.
Essential 6 – Risk‐compliant building regulation and land use applied
Progress and achievements – Risk compliant building regulation and land‐use are in place. These comprise
flood risk zones in urban development plans as well as fire protection measures and roof snow load estimates
for individual buildings.
Essential 7 – Education programmes and training in place
Progress and achievements – Drills and trainings are held on a regular basis for all risk mitigating volunteer
organisations in Lienz. Fire and flood drills are performed on a regular basis in all schools and kindergardens.
Plans – The integration of a more general risk awareness education in schools, Kindergardens and for the
general public is desireable.
Essential 8 – Ecosystems and natural buffers protected
Progress and achievements – The fact that environmental concerns and disaster reduction issues are dealt
with within the same department at the city and district government in Lienz ensures an optimal integration.
For example river beds of all major streams have been re‐naturized to reinstall full ecosystem service
functionality serving flood retention by reducing flow velocities as well as ecological rehabilitation.
Plans – It is currently planned to deepen the river bed of the Isel
Essential 9 – Early warning systems installed
Progress and achievements – A flood risk early warning system is implemented through water gauges and
retention basin monitoring and subsequent alarming of the necessary agencies as well as siren sounding for
the general public and voluntary organisations. Apart from the procedurally formalised and technologically
based early warning, the high sense of citizens responsibility that was achieved by participatory actions within
the communities of Lienz has lead to an informal early warning system whereby for example an upstream
farmer would check and inform appropriately in case of flood risk for downstream areas.
Plans – It is planned to reap full potential of this informal citizenship based early warning capacity within the
communities of Lienz by introducing a measure of formalisation and institutionalisation thereof.
Essential 10 – Needs‐based (survivors) reconstruction
Progress and achievements – Evacuation facilities including plans, emergency dormatories and bedding, fieldkitchen
and mobile ambulance exist in schools and other public buildings in adequate size and numbers.
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