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Landslides during the Ahr flood
In many places in the Ahr Valley, there is still a risk of landslides even after the flood disaster. © Thomas Frey/dpa

At least 134 people died in the 2021 Ahr flood disaster. Where is the risk of new landslides and dams in the event of a possible new flood? The scientists are now investigating with special drones.

Mainz/Schuld – After the Ahr flood with many damaged steep slopes, there are still areas in the river valley at risk of further landslides. These could endanger houses and people. With the help of aerial photography taken with special drones and on-site mapping, geoscientists at the University of Mainz are creating better digital terrain models of the Ahr Valley.

According to Mainz geologist Frieder Enzmann, the experts want to show where further landslides and dams could threaten in the event of a possible new Ahr flood. Terrain models are intended to help municipalities, authorities and citizens to deactivate risk areas. At least 134 people died in the Ahr flood in July 2021 after extremely heavy rains, around 9,000 buildings were devastated and roads and bridges were destroyed.

Basically, according to Enzmann, the number of landslides in the Rhenish Slate Mountains, which also includes the Ahr Valley, is growing. There are probably two main reasons for this: more and more development on the land and the consequences of climate change, he told the German Press Agency. With more sealing from nature, landslides could cause more damage. Larger fluctuations in temperature and humidity as a result of climate change could potentially loosen more rock on slopes and cause mass movement. dpa

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