Local Government Profile

Lienz, Austria  
RoleModel Lienz
Hazard Types
Avalanche, Epidemic & Pandemic, Flood, Land Slide
Name of Mayor
Johannes Hibler
  • Johannes Hibler

  • 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.

  • Disclaimer

  • The documents have been posted as received. The designations employed do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area, or of its authorities.