The death toll from the floods in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia has risen to 170. More than 150 people are still wanted. German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the flood-affected areas on Tuesday. Seeing many homes that were no longer suitable for living, she said, “The city has been hit so badly that she is almost speechless.”
In the Arweiler region of the Rhineland-Palatinate, the death toll has risen to 122, according to a police spokesman in Koblenz that afternoon. So far, there have been talk of 117 deaths. The number of wounded has also risen to 763 and 155 are still missing. In the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the death toll after the disaster rose by one to 48 people. The Cologne Police Department reported that a dog tracking the dog had found another body in the Bad Muenstrifel disaster area.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited North Rhine-Westphalia on Tuesday and promised the victims quick help. During a visit to Bad Muennstrifel, which has been badly affected by the floods, the head of government announced that the Federal Cabinet will decide on Wednesday a financial aid programme.
The goal is to provide emergency assistance without bureaucratic procedures. Everything possible will be done to ensure that the money reaches people quickly. “I hope it’s a matter of days,” said Merkel.
“Destruction is terrifying, the only consolation is human solidarity”
However, she noted, reconstruction will take time. It is expected that it will take more than a few months to repair dilapidated infrastructure such as roads and railways, as well as rebuild the city. – It is clear that we will need a lot of patience – she confirmed.
Merkel was immediately shocked by the situation. She admitted that “the damage is horrific.” Seeing many homes that were no longer suitable for living, she said, “The city has been hit so badly that she is almost speechless.”
– The only consolation is human solidarity – said the chancellor, referring to the many volunteers who are now involved in helping. She thanked the Federal Agency for Technical Assistance, the fire brigade, the German Red Cross, the army and all other helpers and donors.
“We are currently still looking for missing people, for example when evacuating roads or pumping (water) from basements,” Sabine Lackner, deputy head of the Federal Technical Assistance Agency (THW) told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND). Wednesday. Federal police and firefighters also use rescue divers to search bodies of water. She added that at this point, unfortunately, it is very likely that the victims will only be found, not rescued.
About 3,000 THW members are currently involved in aid in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, Lackner said, “about half of whom are volunteers from local associations.”
The deputy head of the Federal Technical Assistance Agency warned THW that blame should be quickly placed on the disaster, noting that a better warning system could prevent deaths. I would certainly caution against talking about failure now and looking for the culprit. Of course, we will have to go through these processes. But I find this discussion unfortunate a few days after the breakup, said Lackner.
In her opinion, the debate about the alarm system needs peace “as well as experts.” But “most of them are still present in flooded areas today.”
Main image source: / SASCHA STEINBACH / PAP / EPA