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Eurofloods Disaster Diplomacy

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Radix:  Radical Interpretations of and Solutions for Disasters

Eurofloods Disaster Diplomacy

Floods Along the Iron Curtain during the Cold War

  • Irwin, J.F. 2016. "Raging Rivers and Propaganda Weevils: Transnational Disaster Relief, Cold War Politics, and the 1954 Danube and Elbe Floods". Diplomatic History, vol. 40, no. 5, pp. 893-921.

Odra/Oder Basin, July 1997 Floods

  • Did flooding in the Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland in 1997 have any impact on relations amongst these countries?

Central Europe, August 2002 Floods (suggested by Nick Cater)

  • From Business Week (2 September 2002) by David Fairlamb:
             "Crises often bring countries together, and at a time when the EU is close to deciding on new members, the floods are fostering solidarity between EU members and candidates such as the Czech Republic. If the floods focus attention on their causes, smooth the way for EU expansion, and let governments demonstrate their budgetary prudence, then maybe the deluge will have produced some benefit along with the destruction."

  • The British Council in Prague purchases three special machines to vacuum-dry inundated Czech books and manuscripts in a process which may take more than a century to complete. BBC Coverage. Nick Cater suggests this incident as a form of "cultural diplomacy".

  • Are there implications for NATO expansion as well as EU expansion? Neither Austria nor Romania nor Slovakia are NATO members, but they are partner countries. Possible assistance to countries affected by the floods was offered on 16 August 2002 by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, through the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC).

  • From The New York Times (18 September 2002) by Mark Landler:
             "The waters from the calamitous floods in Europe last month have receded. What is left - in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic - is the political debris, wreaking more havoc than expected.
             "Here in Austria, a dispute over tax relief for flood victims ignited the strife within the far-right Freedom Party that led the chancellor, Wolfgang Schüssel, to dissolve Parliament and call new elections.
             "In the Czech Republic, the fledgling government of Prime Minister Valdimir Spidla teetered near collapse after one of its coalition partners voted against a tax increase to help flood victims.
             "In Germany, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's take-charge response to the disaster halted the momentum of his conservative challenger, Edmund Stoiber, who had appeared to be headed for an election victory.
             "The repercussions of that rain have been Europe-wide," said Anneliese Rohrer, the foreign editor of Die Presse, a leading Austrian newspaper. "The floods have turned over the political landscape."
             "Some analysts say the floods may be remembered as the political point-of-no-return for Jörg Haider, the right-wing populist who became a behind-the-scenes power broker in Austria's conservative government."

Other Sources

  • Bechtel, M.M. and J. Hainmueller. 2011. "How Lasting Is Voter Gratitude? An Analysis of the Short- and Long-Term Electoral Returns to Beneficial Policy". American Journal of Political Science, vol. 55, no. 4, pp. 851-867.

  • Doering, M. 2003. "The Politics of Nature: Constructing German Reunification During the Great Oder Flood of 1997". Environment and History, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 195-214.

  • Dworak, T., W. Hansen, and R.A. Kraemer. 2003. Precautionary Flood Protection in Europe: Workshop Report from an International Workshop, 5 - 6 February, Bonn, Germany. Ecologic on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

  • Geipel, R. 1999. "Floods on opposite German borders". Environmental Hazards, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 77-79.

  • Haupter, B., P. Heiland, and J. Neumüller. 2005. "Interregional and Transnational Co-operation in River Basins - Chances to Improve Flood Risk Management?" Natural Hazards, vol. 36, no. 1-2, pp. 5-24.

  • Milich, L. and R.G. Varady. 1998. "Managing Transboundary Resources: Lessons from River-Basin Accords. Environment, vol. 40, no. 8 (October).

  • Pescaroli, G. and I. Kelman. 2016. "How critical infrastructure orients international relief in cascading disasters". Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 56-67.

  • Roberts, G.K. 2003. "'Taken at the Flood'? The German General Election 2002". Government and Opposition, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 53-72.

The Austria-Slovakia border, what used to be the Iron Curtain (2005).

The Austria-Slovakia border, what used to be the Iron Curtain.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2005.)

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