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Psychology hit hard by summer rain disaster

Consequences of Copenhagen’s summer rainstorm are becoming clearer: Equipment for psychology experiments were destroyed in the dramatic deluge

Weeks after torrents of rain overtaxed Copenhagen’s water and sewage system, drowning its cellars, the University is getting to grips with some of the extensive damage to its equipment and property. It is now clear that one of the hardest hit has been the Department of Psychology.

It has now pumped out its cellars after the 2 July floods had turned them into a several metre-high reservoir of water and debris. Less-extensive damage also occurred to its low-lying library.

»It was as if we had been hit by a tsunami. We had water up to 20 centimetres below the ceiling,« describes Charlotte Schönbeck, head of the department’s secretariat. She was one of the first members of staff to be on the scene Monday after the extreme downpour that took place Saturday evening 2 July.

Members of staff took pictures from the cellar which you can see here.

Got help quickly

The psychology department lost archived experimental equipment which it was storing for Medical Museion, as well as stored office equipment and books from one PhD student and one other academic staff member.

The Botanical Gardens, neighbour to the psychology department, was the area in Copenhagen which was hardest hit by the rainstorm. In two hours it was drenched with 135 millimetres of rain, according to the Danish meteorological office, twice the average for a whole month. A large portion of this water apparently drained into the depths of the psychology department.

»As we arrived Monday, all we could see was that we could not go down into the cellar, and it was all very confusing. Luckily we were able to get help from Campus Service quickly, even though they had many other cellars to look into,« says Charlotte Schönbeck.

Valuable collections affected

Rie Stenum of Campus Service City explains to the University Post that it »took days before they could get an overview of the damage in the University’s different cellars, and find the manpower to deal with it«.

Campus Service realised quickly however, that the Department of Psychology was one of the worst hit institutions.

According to university director Jørgen Honoré »technical installations, research equipment, archives and not least some of the valuable collections at the Geological Museum and Medical Museion have all been affected«.

University to pay for inventory, personal property

On University of Copenhagen’s intranet KUnet he praises the many employees who worked hard »even over weekends, to minimise damages and save all that can be saved«.

The University of Copenhagen rents its buildings from the Danish University and Property Agency, which is responsible for covering the damages. However, the University of Copenhagen must cover all damages to inventory and personal property.

See staff’s pictures of the drowned out cellar here.

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