Rescue and clean-up work continues after the flood disaster. Chancellor Merkel believes that “staying power” is necessary. In the flood areas, the weather outlook is causing some concern.
Offenbach / Berlin – After the flood disaster, the clean-up and rescue measures are still in full swing – people in the affected West German areas are already looking with concern at the weather forecast for the weekend.
There could be heavy rain again, said a meteorologist from the German Weather Service (DWD) – where exactly, however, cannot yet be precisely predicted.
Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) meanwhile prepared the population for a joint effort to cope with the storm disaster. Merkel said on Thursday in Berlin: “We will need patience to repair all this damage.” There was terrible devastation from the floods, Germany mourned 170 deaths. The aim is to jointly finance the flood damage, said the Chancellor.
The federal government has made an amount of 200 million euros available for emergency aid. Over the next few days and weeks, the Prime Ministers of the federal states will be talking about how a joint development fund will be organized.
Clouds, showers, thunderstorms
Showers like rain and thunderstorms are expected at the weekend in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, according to the DWD. After a few days of sunshine, showers and thunderstorms with heavy rain threaten again on the weekend in North Rhine-Westphalia. “It can theoretically and selectively go into the storm area,” said the DWD.
The clouds in Rhineland-Palatinate will come on Saturday, according to the meteorologist. At noon there was initially shower-like rain in the west, and in the afternoon the whole area was affected. Local thunderstorms can also form on Sunday during the day.
On Friday the sun was still shining in NRW, especially in the southwest. According to the DWD, clouds will come in from the southwest on Saturday. At first it rained in the Eifel, in the course of the afternoon the precipitation spread. The meteorologist reported that there would be thunderstorms on both days.
No reason to give the all-clear
The DWD spoke of the catastrophe as an “event of the century”. In a climatological classification, it was said that previous records had been far exceeded at an unusually large number of stations in the west. Within a few hours or days, an average of 1.5 to twice the average precipitation in July was reached over entire river basins in relation to the reference period 1991-2020.
There is no reason to give the all-clear. According to the information, the most and most intense heavy precipitation in Germany usually occurs between May and September. “It can therefore be assumed that there will be more events in 2021,” said the DWD.
Last week a storm with heavy rain triggered a devastating flood in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia. The number of victims continued to rise on Thursday. At least 175 people were killed in the flood disaster – 128 in Rhineland-Palatinate, according to previous knowledge, 47 in North Rhine-Westphalia. More than 150 people are still missing. Parts of the Ahrweiler region still have neither water nor electricity.
After the flash flood on the Ahr in Rhineland-Palatinate, emergency services have rescued around 330 people there with a total of 36 helicopters from roofs and trees, said the Rhineland-Palatinate Interior Minister Roger Lewentz (SPD) in Mainz. He expressed concern that the rain announced for the weekend could make the situation even more difficult.
Thousands of helpers in action
Currently 3500 civil protection forces, 1050 police officers and 853 soldiers are deployed in the Ahrweiler district. The rescue and evacuation measures were still ongoing. The damage is immense. According to Lewentz, 62 bridges were destroyed, 19 day-care centers and 14 of 60 schools were severely damaged or destroyed in the district. The financial extent of the flood disaster is still unclear, according to the Mainz finance minister Doris Ahnen (SPD).
The Bundeswehr wants to investigate the damage more precisely from the air. After a tornado reconnaissance plane was on the move over the Eifel the day before, the A319OH (“open sky”) surveillance aircraft, which is intended for arms control flights, should fly over the disaster area on Thursday, as a spokesman for the air force said.
The President of the Federal Association of Technical Relief, Marian Wendt, spoke out in favor of more centralized control in the event of a crisis. “The on-site operations manager sometimes has no overview of what forces are available,” said the CDU politician of the “Bild” newspaper. “We need situation coordination at federal and state level in the event of disasters.” Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) pleaded for planning procedures for flood protection measures in Germany to be accelerated.
In the Erftstadt-Blessem disaster area in North Rhine-Westphalia, some residents are expected to be allowed to return to their homes permanently from Thursday. The prerequisite is that the stability of the building is guaranteed, said District Administrator Frank Rock. dpa