Switzerland must spend billions to avoid a repeat of the late August floods that claimed six lives and forced thousands to evacuate.
Flooding came after weeks of rain spilled from the Alps, a torrent that overwhelmed flood protection systems on the major rivers. Trapped residents had to be removed by helicopter, hundreds were forced from their homes, and two people died when a mudslide crashed through lakeside Brienz, near Bern. European countries were counting at least 70 dead in the same flooding crisis.
In the aftermath. Swiss authorities continued charting the country's vulnerable areas, where construction is--or will be--restricted as a precaution. The cleanup is expected to top SFr 1 billion.
Updating anti-flood measures along the Rhone River, alone, could cost another SFr 1 billion, but such an investment would pay off in the long run, said officials with the Swiss Federal Office for Water and Geology. A previous investment of SFr 26 million along the Aa River at Engelberg may have prevented SFr 100 million in damage, officials said. Currently the federal budget for such measures is SFr 60 million a year.
Transport and environment minister Moritz Leuenberger...