Summer School Disaster Risk Reduction 2023

09th to 15th of July, 2023


The modules are inspired by the five stages of the Disaster Risk Management Cycle

Risk Management Cycle

Module 1: Prevention

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Prevention focuses on raising risk awareness. Effective risk communication for example can have major impacts on the level of damage caused by an extreme event. Risk communication does not only include a well-functioning network but also awareness raising strategies to strengthen and increase public risk awareness. Further, accurate risk analysis is an indispensable means for prevention.

Path dependency and inertia are potentially hindering risk awareness. Nevertheless, the increasing amount of extreme weather events with devastating consequences show the importance of risk awareness in general and awareness raising activities. Thus, we raise the questions of how public risk awareness can be strengthened and what different methods and means are existing to do so. Further, we will discuss about how the gap between science and practice can be closed when it comes to Disaster Risk Reduction.

Module 2: Mitigation

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Being aware of potential disaster risks, preventive and mitigating measures need to be implemented.

Nevertheless, it must be noted that all the efforts to date to come to a significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions have not been successful. For this reason - in addition to local and regional adaptation strategies and measures- to cope with the consequences of climate change, geoengineering or climate engineering methods are increasingly being discussed and are partially introduced in some regions. To highlight these hidden approaches, the module will discuss geoengineering – concepts as an idea of mitigation, with a special view to expected regional effects.

Module 3: Preparedness

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Reviewing the forecasts for future challenges due to climate change, questions arise on how to best prepare for such extreme weather events. Fostering formation through drills and trainings, adapt emergency planning, optimizing processes and provide resources are only some means for protection and features of strategic risk management.

Nevertheless, such activities need to be planned, organized, monitored, etc. What lessons can be learned from past extreme events? Where is potential for improvement? What does strategic risk management mean and how is it realized? How well are we prepared for future extreme events? In this section we try to find answers to these questions and discuss about the strategic complexity of Disaster Risk Reduction.

Module 4: Response

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Response means a fast-acting operative risk management in case of a disaster. Actors need to be able to quickly get an overview of the situation, warn the population and convene a crisis team. Further, an effective crisis communication needs to be implemented.

So, how do these steps look like in reality? How can a disaster operation look like? How do you rescue people and organize evacuation camps? These and more interesting questions will be discussed together with an expert from the field. Insights into operative risk management will be provided and questions will be answered. We will learn how risk communication turns into crisis communication and how you make society function during a disaster. Gaps between science and practice will be discussed as well as lessons learned and potential for improvement.

Module 5: Recovery

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After a disaster the implemented measures as well as the whole event needs to be reflected and evaluated in order to learn for similar situations in the future. Findings are generated and emergency plans are adapted based on the gathered knowledge.

The International Summer School Disaster Risk Reduction takes place at the two years anniversary of the Ahr Valley Flood on 14th July 2021. Thus, we want to look back and learn what has happened since this disastrous event and to what extent the Ahr Valley has recovered? Is a full recovery even possible? What are the future plans for such a region that was hardly hit by a flood and how to build back better? What complex effects does such an event cause that might not become visible in the very first moments but on a later stage? Interesting insights will be provided and the participants have the chance to share own ideas and thoughts regarding the complexity of disaster recovery.

Module 6: Practical parts 1 + 2

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Practical part 1: Serious Game RAMSETE

Practical part 2: Workshop Sketch Mapping

This workshop provides an introduction to open geo data and its applications in disaster risk management. The session will focus on OpenStreetMap, a collaborative mapping platform that allows users to create and share spatial data and derived maps of the world. Participants will learn how OpenStreetMap works and how it is used within the humanitarian community. The workshop will feature a hands-on component where attendees will learn how to query and extract data from OpenStreetMap and combine it with other geospatial information. This will be followed by a practical exercise in which participants will use the extracted data to create web maps that visualizes the combined data as a situational overview.

Field trips

Field trips

Ahr Valley

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We will visit the Municipality of Ahrweiler, the region that was hardly hit by the flood in July 2021, together with an expert of the field who will reflect on that catastrophic event and explain what can be learnt from such a disaster. Key factors will be examined that can be declared as responsible for the devastating extent of the flood. The participants will be able to get an own picture of the region two years after the event and experience themselves the local recovery process. Further, we will visit the former government bunker in Ahrweiler.


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  • Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) Bonn

The Federal Agency for Technical Relief (Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk) is the German civil defense and disaster relief organization. The main tasks of the Technical Relief Agency consist of civil protection, disaster protection and international support mainly in case of disasters as well as several public tasks. We will visit the organization in its headquarter in Bonn and get interesting and exciting insights into the real world of disaster risk management.

  • Bonn Network International Civil Protection and Disaster Risk Reduction

The Bonn Network International Civil Protection and Disaster Risk Reduction was founded in 2017 to promote networking and exchange between Bonn-based national and international actors from politics, civil society, science and the private sector.

More information can be found on the website.

National Park Hunsrück-Hochwald

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In this excursion, the objectives of a national park as well as national and international standards will be introduced. Beside the presentation of the highlights of the park “Hunsrück-Hochwald” -the most recent national park in Germany- ecosystem services with view to disaster prevention will be focused. In the Hunsrück case, the relevance of bogs in water extreme events (droughts, heavy rainfalls, floods) are highlighted in the field, and their vulnerability regarding overuse of water and changes in the hydrological regime are discussed.

Here you find more information about the National Park Hunsrück-Hochwald.

Trier dike

Along the Moselle, a dike ensures flood protection for the city of Trier. For example, the flood event of December 1993 was held off by the dike and the city was protected from major flooding. As the dike that was built in the 1930s started to show several deficits in the last years, it has now been refurbed. In addition to the purely technical rehabilitation measures on the dam body, urban and landscape planning measures have also been implemented, making the entire section more attractive and inviting for visitors and passers. Together with Professor Dr. Kreiter from Trier University of Applied Science and consultant engineer at LP Engineering GmbH, we will discover these synergy effects between dike protection and landscape architecture that have been harmonized in an ideal way.


Agenda (changes possible)

You can find the updated agenda here.

(Guest) Lecturers

Dr. Benni Thiebes (DKKV)

Dr. Benni Thiebes is the Managing Director of the German Committee for Disaster Reduction (DKKV) located in Bonn, Germany. He has been working as a researcher and consultant for disaster risk management and natural hazards and risks with a focus on landslide monitoring and early warning systems in Europe, East- and South-East Asia and the Pacific for more than 15 years. He has authored more than 30 articles in scientific journals and books, held numerous presentations at international conferences, moderated workshops, and consulted different regional administrations and institutions. Furthermore, he teaches on ‘News Media in Disaster Risk Reduction’ at the Universities of Vienna and Bonn. Benni Thiebes has several years of experience in project acquisitions from national and international funding agencies, as well as the management of international projects and teams.

Dr. Harald Egidi (National Park Hunsrück-Hochwald)

Dr. Harald Egidi graduated in forest sciences in Munich and Zurich 1984 with his thesis "The coppicing in Siegerland - using the example of three special cooperatives compared to the last 100 years". Following his legal clerkship in Hachenburg, Kelberg and Koblenz, he earned his doctorate at the department of Forest Yield Science at the Technical University of Munich in the area of age updating in a forest construction plan with a computerised system. From 1987 until 2000, Mr. Egidi was deputy head of unit for forest inventory / forest planning at the former district government Koblenz for the administrative regions of Koblenz and Trier. From 2000 until 2003 he was manager of the Forestry Bureau Kempfeld. Thereafter he managed the unit "forest sustainability and environmental care" in the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture, Food, Viticulture and Forests of Rheinland-Palatinate until 2014. Since 2015 he is director of the National Park Hunsrück-Hochwald.
Dr. Egidi is a member of various advisory boards with projects of forests, wildlife and climate change impacts. In the years 2003 till 2014 he was a member of the audit committee for the higher forestry service. From 2012 until 2015 he was the head of the federal-state working group in forest management plan.

Katharina Haupenthal (UAS Trier)

Katharina is a research associate in the BMBF-funded project “Urban Flood Resilience Smart Tools (FloReST)” at UAS Trier, Umwelt Campus Birkenfeld. Her research focuses mostly on risk communication, risk awareness raising activities and resilience building. She is currently doing her PhD in Geography in cooperation with the University of Trier. Within her work she aims at elaborating on the effects of participatory activities on student’s flood risk awareness. Katharina has a special relationship to the topic of flood risk as she called the sea her working place for one and a half year when she was working as windsurf instructor on the Canary Islands, in Greece and Egypt. She holds a Master of Science in Public Policy and Human Development from United Nations University Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute (UNU-MERIT), a pre-Master in European Studies from Maastricht University and a German-French double Bachelor degree in International Management from Reutlingen Business School and Reims Management School.

Prof. Dr. Lothar Kirschbauer (UAS Koblenz)

Dr. Lothar Kirschbauer is professor for urban water management and hydraulic engineering at the University of Applied Science in Koblenz. Further, he is head of the competency network “Wissenschaft für den Wiederaufbau” (engl. Science for Recovery), which examines and evaluates the Ahr Valley Flood in 2021. Before his professorship he worked as project lead for Franz Fischer Ingenieurbüro GmbH and TEAMPLAN EDV GmbH & Co. KG in Erftstadt as well as for Ingenieurgesellschaft Technologieberatung Grundwasser und Umwelt (TGU) in Koblenz. His research interests are in the fields of settlement construction and urban risks.

Prof. Dr. Peter Fischer-Stabel (UAS Trier)

Prof. Fischer-Stabel holds a professorship in Geomatics Technology at our university. He studied Geography, Computer Science and Hydrology. After working in the German Environmental Specimen Banking Program (Federal Environmental Protection Agency), he joined the European Space Agency in Rome, addressing issues of geo-spatial data integration. He chairs the Institute for Software Systems (ISS). Ongoing research activities focus on environmental management & information systems and risk reduction strategies in natural disasters. He is also a ranger in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Bliesgau.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Kreiter (UAS Trier)

Since the beginning of 2022 Dr. Thomas Kreiter is professor for hydraulic engineering and urban science at the University of Applied Science Trier. Previous to his current position he worked for LSC Engineering Group S.A., where he was head of department for hydrology and hydraulic engineering before he became Chief Executive Officer of the company’s branch in Trier. Beside his professorship, he holds a consultant position at the engineering office Schroeder & Associés S.A. Dr. Thomas Kreiter has a doctorate in geography and earth science and a background in civil engineering.

Ronja Winkhardt-Enz (DKKV)

Ronja Winkhardt-Enz is a Research Associate at the German Committee for Disaster Reduction (DKKV) located in Bonn, Germany. She is a Geographer and holds a master’s degree in “Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security” from the United Nations University (UNU-EHS) and University of Bonn. She has work and research experience from Mexico, Panama, and Brazil on the topics of disaster risk reduction, disaster and conflicts, and disaster displacement. At DKKV she supports mainly the network activities and the project management.

Nils Heidrich (Fire brigade Herrstein-Rhaunen)

Nils Heidrich is an administrative specialist and head of the department for citizen services at the municipality of Herrstein-Rhaunen. He has served as active member in several volunteer fire departments until he became chief of the fire brigade Herrstein in 2015. Since 2020 he is chief of the fire brigade of the municipality Herrstein-Rhaunen as well as deputy fire and civil protection inspector. Nils Heidrich is deputy member of the fire department working group at the Association of Municipalities and Towns of Rhineland-Palatinate, fire brigade trainer and author of the book „Standard Einsatz Regeln – Brandmeldeanlagen und andere brandschutztechnische Anlagen“ (engl. Standard operating rules - Fire alarm systems and other fire protection systems). He has vast experience in flood operations, as the flood in Grimma, Saxony, in 2013, the Herrstein flood in 2018 as well as the Ahr valley flood in 2021.

Wilhelm Schulz (Municipality of Ahrweiler)

As Ahrweiler County’s sustainability manager, Wilhelm is responsible for designing and overseeing the implementation of specific measures to reduce public and private greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate. The near-complete destruction of the complete Ahr valley in 2021 significantly impacts his work as it is focused on supporting efforts in sustainable reconstruction while still managing emission reduction paths in the rest of the county. Wilhelm previously worked on European climate, security and tech policy for a Brussels based NGO before returning to his hometown after witnessing the 2021 flood in Ahrweiler. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs with a specialization in Security and Sustainability Policies from Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance as well as a Political Science Bachelor Degree from Free University Berlin.

Marcel Reinmuth (HeiGIT)

Marcel Reinmuth is a Research Associate with the Heidelberg Institute of Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT) at Heidelberg University. He graduated with a master's degree in Geography and specialised in geoinformatics.
At HeiGIT, he is located at the intersection of humanitarian organisations and researchers as well as geospatial developers to bridge the gap towards humanitarian impact via open source innovations. Within this context, he works primarily on open solutions in the field of health care logistics and accessibility of services.

Alec Schulze-Eckel (HeiGIT)

Alec Schulze-Eckel is a Research Associate with the Heidelberg Institute of Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT) at Heidelberg University. He holds a master's degree in Geography. He works in the field of Forecast-based-Action (FbA) with partners like the German Red Cross, Somalia Red Crescent and Sudan Red Crescent Society. Alec Schulze-Eckel volunteers at the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) and the German Red Cross and has experience in disaster response.

German Committee for Disaster Reduction (DKKV)

German Committee for Disaster Reduction (DKKV)

The German Committee for Disaster Reduction (DKKV) is an association with the purpose of promoting disaster reduction. The DKKV is a competence center for all national and international disaster prevention issues and an intermediary to international organizations and initiatives active in the field of disaster reduction.

The DKKV bundles and promotes communication between governmental, administrative, relief, research and educational institutions as well as companies and aims at strengthening the resilience and learning capacity of society. Due to its unique network character within disaster risk management the DKKV is particularly capable of bringing together the key players in this field and, as a discussion platform, it opens up considerable potential in terms of knowledge. This enables both a comprehensive assessment of event sequences and planning and the development of concrete recommendations and priorities for research and practice.

DKKV supports interdisciplinary research approaches to disaster risk reduction in other professional sectors as well as in politics and business and the dissemination of disaster risk reduction knowledge at all levels of education. In addition, it recommends the implementation of existing findings on disaster risk reduction in politics, business and administration, the further development of interdisciplinary and transnational cooperation in operational disaster risk reduction, and the development of media strategies to promote and strengthen disaster risk reduction in society.

Here you will find more information about DKKV.

How to apply?

Application process

Applications should be submitted by April 1st 2023 to

To apply, please submit the following documents:

-Letter of Motivation (1-2 pages)

-Transcript of Records

-Signed application form

Please note that the application forms have to be signed personally by applicants.

Download the application form: Click here


Contact us

In case of questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Study coordinator: ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Katharina Haupenthal

Secretary: Sabrina Abler

Trier University of Applied Sciences Environmental Campus Birkenfeld 
P.O. Box 1380, 55761 Birkenfeld, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 6782 17-1974

Information for International Students

Information for International Students

Here you find some information for international students.

Costs & Accomodation

Costs & Accomodation

The price per participant is 250,00€.

Please be aware that any costs related to transportation (flights, transport, etc.), visa, accomodation, food and others are not included in the course price. Any visa issues need to be organized by the applicant. The BBQ and farewell party are included in the price.


Below you find a selection of different accomodation:

Hotel Vicinity: Neubrücker Str. 9928, 55768 Hoppstädten-Weiersbach (on campus), homepage:

Hotel An der Burg: Am Burghof 4, 66625 Nohfelden, homepage:

Pension Zum Alten Zoll: Zum Alten Zoll 1, 66625 Nohfelden, homepage:

Landgasthof Alt-Birkenfeld: Wasserschieder Str. 16, 55765 Birkenfeld, homepage:

Hochwald-Hotel Garni: Trierer Str. 15-17, 55765 Birkenfeld, homepage:

Campingpark Waldwiesen: Waldwiesen, 55765 Birkenfeld, homepage:

There are regular bus-/train connections from Birkenfeld and Nohfelden to the campus. Possible connections can be checked here.



Please download the flyer here.

Ahr flooding 2021 in Kreuzberg, Germany © SanGero -

Are you studying Earth-, Engineering- or Social Science and are you keen on learning more about Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)? Are you interested in working in the field of disaster risk management and/or prevention?

Disasters are complex phenomena which increasingly tackle our daily lives now and in the future. Thus, it becomes more and more important to have well-informed and trained people to mitigate the social, infrastructural, and economic challenges due to disaster risk.

Disaster Risk Reduction touches upon every professional field in its own way. It does not matter if you are an ecologist, an engineer, a teacher or a sociologist – you can contribute to a more resilient society by integrating your skills into the overall theme of Disaster Risk Reduction.

During a one-week course organized by the German Committee for Disaster Reduction (DKKV) and the Environmental Campus of UAS Trier you will learn the basics of risk management and risk prevention as well as explore the topic in real life on different field trips, as to the Ahr Valley or to the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) in Bonn. The Summer School does not only focus on theory but also on practical input in order to apply Disaster Risk Reduction.

Contact: Katharina Haupenthal (

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