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The story of Christoph Währer, engaged in disaster prevention

18. December 2017 -
In 2017 arche noVa celebrates its 25 years anniversary. We have been supporting humanitarian aid and development aid for a quarter century. What is behind all this? In the course of this year we introduce to you 25 people who typify arche noVa. This time it’s Christoph Währer, who is engaged in disaster prevention.

After more than 13 years as pastor of the Jesus Zentrum Meißen Christoph Währer hands over his tasks to his successor. He is going to play a new role as volunteer, taking care of special activities, for example in the flood prevention. An important task, because the JZM has been affected by floods before, like in 2006, 2011 and 2013. The risk of flooding remains because the building of the organization is located in the middle of the city and directly on the bank of the river Elbe.

Social work in the region of Meißen

The JZM is an important pillar for the social work of the city. Children and teens meet at the place after school, get a warm meal and help with their homework. “Our commitment is to the people of Meißen. We provide our facilities for private functions as weddings etc and for company seminars. We host a blood donation service, a kindergarten and a youth club. Everything is under one roof and everybody is welcome”, declares Christoph Währer.

This successful concept became eventually possible with the purchase of the building in 2014 and the reconstruction of the flood damaged house. “Without the aid of arche noVa we would have been unable to take up the chalenge ”, Christoph Währer says. After the flood in 2013 the JZM truly had been one step away from abyss, despite many donations and the efforts of many honorary office workers. The building was so heavily damaged that it could not be entered any more. The social workers had to rent extern rooms to maintin their services.

"Our location in the flood area demanded perspective thinking."

“We had not had the money for the reconstruction of our old building or the purchase of a new property”, says Christoph Währer. “That’s why we were so happy about the support of arche noVa”, the theologian tells. In June 2013 the reconstruction began, after complicated planning and various obstacles – but under conditions. “Our location in the flood area demanded perspective thinking. arche noVa told us, we had to be prepared for floods all the time.”

Making up a disaster preparedness plan for the project

The property and its interior should be protected the best way. But how? For the building the experts found a complying solution. It was renovated in a way that floods cannot damage the house in dangerous amounts anymore. For the protection of the interior the operator stayed responsible and got support from arche noVa again in terms of advice. The result: an individual disaster preparedness plan. “We collected all information and photos, experiences, action processes as well as respon

The disaster preparedness plan contains every detail. When stricken by a disaster it directly comes into force providing information for the team and volunteers. Even those who will be on site for the first time will be able to help effectively. A good plan is essential to minimize possible damages.  “I wish that my engagement in the reconstruction and the intense planning sums up in the future and the people who use our plan in a case of emergency will be able to prevent such a hopeless-looking situation like the last flooding.”

How non-profit organisations make precautions with arche noVa you can read here.