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Floods in and around Emmenbruecke - 21.08.05

Main entrance to the Swicofil offices on 23.11.05

Main entrance to Swicofil offices on 23.11.05  Main entrance to Swicofil offices on 23.11.05 

Situation 02.09.05

cleaning up of the cellars below our office continues
 Cleaning up of all the cellars and stores below our office continue 

Situation 31.08.05

Swicofil entrance

Cellar below our offices

Cellar below our offices

Cable tunnel

Cleaning going on

Polymer out of the Rhodia cellars

21./22.08.05: These pictures may give you an idea of the the terrible state this area was in after the torrential rains. 

Drive in at Swicofil

Drive in at Swicofil

Drive in at Swicofil

Drive in at Swicofil

If you drive your mouse over the thumbnail the place where the picture was taken will pop up. 

For a bigger picture please click on thumbnails above

Important Note to 
visitors and customers

Torrential rains over days caused these floods


Flood Disaster Timeline Details


Main entrance to Swicofil offices on 23.11.05 
Main entrance after 94 days

22.11.05 The problem with the non-functioning central heating is found - there is a leak in the system. This means that they will try to repair it and if failing the heat exchanger has to be replaced - latter could take 4-5 weeks. We were assured that a mobile heating container will be arranged for this period. As if someone read this report now after 93 days there are workers starting to clean up the main entrance this morning - miracles still happen these days. Car park markings are still not done. Yesterday all of a sudden we could not fax overseas - the new switchboard allocated our fax only the right to dial within Europe.


21.11.05 Although the heating should run "officially" for one week now we still need to use the electric and the gas heaters. The entire last week the heating was sort of on and off. With outside temperatures of minus 4°C it is not funny to come to a cold office (greetings from Siberia). The responsible technicians tell us that they will look into it. Maybe it is a problem where we ourselves have to find the cause of the problem - like in many other infrastructural instances after the floods. The main entrance to our offices still does not look like there are businesses running.....  
14.11.05 Heating seems not to be at its former performance yet - still need to switch on the gas heaters. Some phones are again not working - most numbers on new switchboard are running at lunch - except the one of Lea - at 17.25 pm after 85 days also Lea's phone works again - great! 
11.11.05 Mid afternoon the big surprise - it sound like water running in the heating radiators - and they are getting slowly warmer - telephone of Dilara Pervan is still not working - new switchboard is promised to run on Monday
07.11.05 Already November and still no central heating. It is getting very cold in the office - this Monday morning it was 14°C. Not surprising after a cold weekend (3-4°C nights). We are still being promised that heating should be provided soon. The same with the missing telephone lines - apparently next weekend they want to switch over to a new switchboard. Seeing is believing. 
27.10.05 The new telephone switchboard still not functional - Lea's telephone still silent - every time we ask we are told "may be in 10 days it will work". Patience is running short. Entrance hall downstairs has been painted - however, entry itself still looking terrible. Neighboring school has heating already for a few days - our building is cold - heating is still by electric heaters.
25.10.05 The air conditioning of the neighboring Swissflock is working again. Sound check by the plant manager. The normal sound (quite a low brrrrruuuummm) of the huge fan however is missing. They got the it totally overhauled. 
14.10.05 On the silent (nobody informs anybody) the 2 elevators are operational again. Cellars below need further hot air drying and further cleaning - we think it will take many more weeks.
12.10.05 Another surprise! Our office is dark, server and PC's are down - without information from the owners of the building electricity was cut - though this time for a good purpose: an hour later and after 51 days the normal net electricity is back. Missing at this point are still:
  • 3 telephone lines
  • hot water from the tap
  • central heating (the seasonal cold has started)
  • our marked car parks
11.10.05 The new telephone switchboard is delivered - now the technicians can do their work and connect all the phone lines. We expect that within 2 weeks all our numbers should be running again. Heating with the small electric stoves is all of a sudden a problem - consumption of fuses is dramatically going up
05.10.05 Gas is finished second time - no more replacements. Instead we are now heating the office with 3 electric heaters - the fire brigade is now much happier and we too. Electricity is still coming from container sized generators. Rumors that a new telephone switch coming from Ireland is passing the customs. 
29.09.05 We are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the registering of the company - about 60 guests 
17.09.05 Very cold weather and no heating in the office - temperature is getting below 15 degr C - René Hess organizes a gas stove - this helps at least a bit  - still many telephone lines do not work.
15.09.05 A bright sunny day in every respect 
14.09.05 This morning the electricity supply was changed from the small generator (quite unstable) to a container sized generator - now we can plug in all equipment and use the the lights again (coffee machine and refrigerator are important for the mood)
The problems with the bookkeeping software are solved now. New telephone switchboard is said to be delivered very soon.
13.09.05 Settled in at our offices - everything works except a few telephone lines - the bookkeeping program plays crazy - it did not appreciate the moving  
12.09.05 The going back is finally happening. Login offices good bye - thanks for your kindness to host us. Server and all PC's are moved and re-installed in our offices. Network switches are replaced by new ones. We are able to work normal again. What a great feeling to be back!
The cleaning up in the cellars below continues. Main switchboard is planned to be delivered this week. Electric current remains on generator supply.
15.10 pm: neighboring school Dickerhof informs us that electric current is likely to be fixed today - great news as a stable electricity means less danger for problems with electronic components.
09.09.05 Another hectic day - Internet access looks like coming back - at 14.28 pm we have our own ADSL internet line back and we decide to move back on Monday. The telephone lines of René, Trudi, Patrick, Beda and the main line 2679024 are working. We discover that the office network switches have been killed by current overload when emergency electric current came back on stream. 
08.09.09 Telephone repair team made it - great! the phones of Trudi, René and Patrick work again - Internet access ADSL lines are said to be working but our provider TIC cannot ping the router. It looks like Swisscom still has problems with ADSL connections in the Emmenbruecke area. Until internet access works again we will stay in Littau.

Important We experienced a few cases where emails were not received - please do not hesitate to repeat your email if you do not hear from us within 48 hours at the latest

07.09.05 Although there is nice late summer weather here in Switzerland the situation in the lower parts of Emmenbruecke is still dull. On a daily basis we are checking the developments. This morning we met some electricians in the corridors. Communication lines from the main switchboard to our offices are old and damaged and wet - they need to be replaced and repair/replacement work there is initiated. In an optimistic case we might have internet access, fax and one or two telephones working still this week. Electric current from the standard network will definitely take several weeks. For the time being there is only electricity from generators.
06.09.05 Visited yesterday some of the local production sites and warehouses which were hit. We are missing words to describe the devastation which we saw. There are still huge areas which could not be cleared. Now, it is understandable why this recovery process takes so long. Generators, spinning pumps, electricity invertors, steam producing equipment etc have to be overhauled (where possible) or new ones have to be bought - those normally are not a stock item and delivery times apply.

We are still not certain as to when we can go back to the usual Swicofil office. The responsible of our hosting company in Emmenbruecke are over their limits and totally incapable of managing the situation satisfactorily. After 2 1/2 weeks a skeleton communication and energy scheme should be possible.

05.09.05 A small miracle: one side of our office has electricity (from a generator) - René and myself celebrated it with a cup of espresso. Internet and telephone lines are still dead. Switch boxes are still not dry. Nobody is able to give a date as to when they will work again. The cleaning in the floors below our offices continues. Whenever they open a new room mud and water and debris - same story starts all over again. 
Our hosts in Littau are nice enough to accept us also week number three.
Weekend Cleaning teams had a rest. Communication and electricity people have been working 
02.09.05  Switchboard looks much better now - however telephone lines to the different offices may still not work because there are switches on the way to the offices which still need drying up and cleaning. Neighboring school running on a skeleton scheme. Mail order company (one floor below us) is said to have left their offices for good. Electricity and communication is not back as announced yesterday. We are likely to stay in Littau for another few days. New picture of debris here
01.09.05  Many different opinions among the responsible people on the site as to when our office is likely to have again electricity, internet access and a functioning telephone service - these are the 3 basics for us to be able to function again at the Gerliswilstr. 23. Hopefully Friday will help to clear up these clouds. Rhodia clearing their IT cellar - a container load of IT material (incl. PC's) has to be thrown out.
31.08.05 Work in the switchboard continues - half of external lines repaired - still no electricity - cable tunnels now accessible - cellars below still full of mud and debris - new pictures here
30.08.05 Trudi Zimmermann (finances) is also back to work. Visiting the Gerliswilstrasse 23: work continuing at telephone switchboard - neighboring rooms still full of mud and chaotic  - a lot of damages are still hidden under mud - many cleaning teams at work - Dickerhof school has generator to run 2 PC's. As it looks today a return to our offices is still far away - nobody of the responsible people is daring to  make a guess
29.08.05 Moving and installing 2 further PC's for Patrick Fuchs and Trudi Zimmermann at Login in Littau. Patrick Fuchs (Team2) is joining us today.
We are informed that electricity and internet access is expected be fixed not earlier than 05.09.05 - cleaning and work on power boards continues.
Weekend Cleaning and communication teams working entire weekend  - a big part of the water has now been pumped away
26.08.05 Working reduced and catching up further - local supplier partners are still closed due to lack of electricity and communication
25.08.05 Trying to catch up with most urgent cases 
24.08.05 Moving Server and 3 PC's to Littau where we got  asylum in the visiting room of Login Network - organizing office and re-starting. Dilara Pervan, René Hess and Beda Ricklin can now work
23.08.05 Swicofil office entrance inaccessible due to floods - office closed
22.08.05 Swicofil office entrance inaccessible due to floods - office closed
21.08.05  Little Emme river goes over the banks and floods entire lower part of Emmenbruecke 

Torrential rains over a longer period in many parts of Switzerland are responsible for a dramatic situation. Central Switzerland is one of the areas which are badly hit. The lower parts of Emmenbruecke where our offices are located were totally flooded. The entrance to our offices were not accessible - they were flooded. All factories in the area (eg. Swiss Steel, Rhodia, Tersuisse and Swissflock) and all shops have come to a total standstill. Electricity and communication is down and it will take weeks for them to get back on stream. During days fire brigades have been fighting to pump away all the water - unfortunately the mass of water and debris is extremely huge.

To get an idea we have put up a special page on the floods - please follow this link

The Swicofil offices are in the first floor and as such not physically hit by the floods. All our files and computers are safe. However there is and there will be no electricity and telephone communication for a couple of weeks.

Thanks to our soft and hardware provider we are now able to run an emergency organization - this does enable us to guarantee a minimum service.

Email communication is working fine - please use our usual addresses. This temporary office is located in Littau, at the premises of Login Network AG (www.loginnetwork.ch) .

We are happy that no personal harm happened to any of our staff and that everybody is safe. We are all impatiently waiting for things to normalize and to serve you again in the usual manner.


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