Case Studies

TACTIC has selected four case studies from across Europe, representing different types of crisis and disasters and allowing for different kinds of preparedness activities and strategies. All of the case studies have experienced actual or potential large-scale and/or cross-border disasters and crises.

The following four case studies will be at the heart of the work of TACTIC:

Case study 1: Terrorism in Europe

London attacksCountries across Europe, including European Union Member States have past experiences of acts of terrorism. Whilst some attacks were aligned to a single country, such as the 2011 attacks in Norway which saw approximately 75 people killed and another 75 injured, some acts of terrorism were large-scale in nature and led to long-term cross-border effects (World Terrorism Database, 2012). Examples of such acts of terror within Europe include a series of what appeared to be large-scale co-ordinated attacks on Madrid’s (Spain) transport network in March 2004 which resulted in 191 fatalities and approximately 1800 injured individuals and on the London (England) transport network on 7 July 2005, killing 56 people and injuring approximately 784 people.

There are important elements to assess in relation to preparedness towards an act of terror that are similar to community preparedness towards other types of crises, such as natural disasters (e.g. restoration of critical services, the development of response aids/training and the empowerment of community leader). Crucially, terrorism is also different to other disasters, largely as a result of psychological trauma caused to individuals. Accordingly, preparedness and response programmes towards terrorism must take into consideration the additional health implications associated with terrorism. Findings from previous events emphasise the need to consider the psychological implications of an act of terror, and, furthermore, an enquiry as to whether preparedness programs engage with the needs of a community to respond to an act of terror.


Case study 2: Floods in a cross-border context in Central Europe          
Floods are the most costly disasters in Europe. Although floods are quite common in many parts of Europe, they still pose a profound challenge to emergency and risk management agencies. This is particularly true in the large-scale river basins that run through different national (and regional) territories. This case study will therefore focus on the cross-border situation between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, with particular attention given to the Oder/Odra, Lusatian Neisse, Elbe/Labe, and Mulde Rivers and their smaller tributaries by concentrating on the border triangle of Germany (Free State of Saxony), Poland (Województwo Dolnośląskie / Lower Silesian Voivodeship), and the Czech Republic (Liberecký Kraj). These areas were affected by a series of large-scale as well as some smaller flood events in 1997, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2013.

The number, spatial extension and variety of flood events during the last two decades allows for a better understanding of private and public perception, behaviour changes and preparedness activities by (with respect to) different national and subnational management schemes. This case study addresses debates surrounding the importance of standardisation (international) and individualisation (local) of management activities in regards to flood risk management, thus how international and national / regional flood risk management issues impact upon community preparedness in relation to who is involved in preparedness activities and the role of residents, businesses and tourists at risk in this context.

Case study 3: Epidemics in the UK         
This case study uses the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) crisis in 2001 as the reference event from which to learn how to prepare for and respond to similarly complex threats. Foot and Mouth Disease is an acute infectious disease which spreads very quickly if not controlled. Furthermore, its ease of transmission and the fact that it does not pose a significant threat to human health makes it an effective tool for terrorists. Within a month of the 2001 UK outbreak, FMD spread to France, Ireland, and the Netherlands; however, while this geographic boundary crossing will be referred to, the primary focus of this case study is FMD in the UK. FMD was initially framed primarily as an agricultural and animal health hazard, and yet what unfolded was a complex scenario, comprising cascading human, social, organisational, political, economic and environmental effects.

Long-lasting feelings of bereavement, fear of a new disaster, loss of trust in authority and systems of control, and the undermining of the value of local knowledge across diverse groups and well beyond the farming community who were considered to be the primary victims were reported. This case study aims to gain an understanding of any changes in management, and management culture that might have occurred in reaction to the 2001 event. This will have a particular focus on the involvement of members of the wider community who were affected then (e.g. the public, the agriculture industry, the tourism sector, etc.) and who are likely to be affected in any subsequent or similar events. Current reactions to ash tree dieback and the debate about badgers and bovine TB illustrate some failures to learn from previous events like FMD and may be transferable here. Key stakeholders will be identified and mapped, drawing upon our existing network of contacts and using snowball techniques to identify key gatekeepers from core groups including: community organisations, major landowners, business sector, policy and decision makers, including DEFRA, Environment Agency, emergency planners, National Trust, Countryside Landowners and Business Organisation, Parish Councils, Local Chambers of Commerce, Tourism Associations, etc.).

Case study 4: Earthquakes in Turkey
Earthquake in TurkeyThe 1999, 17 August Marmara and 12 November Düzce Earthquakes in Turkey caused massive devastation which has been a turning point for the realisation of the vital importance of community involvement in disaster risk management. The 1999 earthquakes devastated the highly industrialised and densely populated urban areas in Turkey and led to 18,000 deaths, and left 44,000 people severely injured. Many residential, commercial buildings, bridges, motorways and infrastructure were damaged. Thus, following the earthquake major attempts at legislative change, structural mitigation and community involvement initiatives have been instituted (e.g. increase in non-governmental organisations getting involved in mitigation and preparedness, formation of neighbourhood volunteer groups, various community awareness and training programs). For further information on the case study in Turkey, please view the case study brochure.