NewsAll for all - How a village fights its...

All for all – How a village fights its way out of the mud

For days after the flood, the residents of Mayschoss on the Ahr were cut off from the outside world. They have taken their fate into their own hands.

Mayschoss – The church is a pharmacy, supermarket and food counter. The crisis team is in the old school, the fire brigade has set up in the kindergarten. There is still a state of emergency in Mayschoss an der Ahr – a place that was devastated particularly badly in the flood disaster two weeks ago.

Destruction and suffering have welded the 900 inhabitants together – also because they were initially cut off from the outside world for days. “We have found very good cohesion. We had no other choice, ”says Rainer Claesges, member of the Mayschoss staff and the local council. “We had to channel forces.”

A crisis team was set up on the day after the flood. “We looked: who has what strength? Who can contribute what? ”Says Claesges. To this day, the staff meets every evening: “The day is discussed and what happens the next day.”

In the church there are piles of clothing, hygiene articles, rubber boots – but also toys. “People are allowed to come and take themselves. We are well taken care of, ”says one helper. It breaks her heart again and again when residents come by who have lost everything in the night of the flood. “What keeps us all alive: We have a great village community. Everyone helps everyone. “Because:” If you haven’t lost your house, we’ve all lost our home. “

Defense chief Berthold Ulrich tackled the disaster night. He went through the streets with a megaphone to warn people and to get them out of their houses. The day after, helicopters would have rescued the people from the roofs. “Some of the scenes were dramatic. We’re just a small village. Everyone knows everyone. ”Fire brigades from Ludwigshafen, Speyer and Neustadt were on site.

On day one after the flood, everyone in the village helped to take care of the residents. “Nurses came to the injured assembly point,” says Claesges. Blankets were brought, drinks, food. Because somehow everyone in the village was affected, even if he had no water in the house. Later, the residents were then supplied from the air by helicopters.

Always new tasks: Meat from two local butcher shops had to be disposed of, as well as the contents of the citizens’ freezers. “We were relatively quick then. We made a big hole on top of the mountain – and removed everything because of the risk of epidemics. ”Then water had to be brought in with tractors and trailers – because there was no water or electricity.

“It was clear that we would not get help so quickly,” says Deputy Mayor Hartwig Baltes. There was also a senior emergency doctor and a former police officer in the village. “We formed and organized groups,” he says. “Everyone would do the same.”

The church has become the center of life, says Claesges. “This is our repository for everything.” And “just a place for a gathering to process what we have experienced”. And to have a beer together. “I think our church has not been as full in the last few years as it has been in the last few days.”

Two thirds of the village are still intact, but estimates are that the devastating storm of July 14th flooded around 50 houses in the village and destroyed the main road along the Ahr. There were two forest paths out of the village, but only for off-road vehicles, says Ulrich. Here, too, someone from the village had a solution: A building contractor built a tar road through the forest within less than a week.

“When you think about how long it normally takes in Rhineland-Palatinate for two square meters of pavement to lie somewhere, in terms of approval, and how it worked now. But that has now also been Mayschoß’s lifeline, ”says Wehrführer Ulrich. The spirit in the village was “otherwise good”. “But the whole thing has welded the village together again.”

And the help in the village continues: The fire brigade supports seven comrades who were affected by the flood. Local groups help winemakers from the local cooperative that their vineyards “are somehow kept alive,” says Ulrich. So that there is no additional economic damage for the companies. “It’s actually high time in the vineyard.”

Mayschoss has now been reconnected to the main road, and emergency services with large equipment and construction machinery are also there. “We are still in charge of the crisis management team,” says Claesges.

At least 132 people were killed in the flood on the Ahr. “So far we’ve only worked,” says Claesges. “Every day you think again: It’s all just a bad dream. And then you get up and look into the vineyards, and that’s the idyll. And on the other side is the apocalypse. ”But here, too, there is nothing else to do:“ This is our home. We’ll build it up again. “

A helper in the church praised how great the willingness to help is also from the outside. “But we have one request: don’t forget us. Even in the long term. This is only the zero hour. ”Dpa

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