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Big challenges in rescue work after floods in Germany

Big challenges in rescue work after floods in Germany

In normal cases, members of the Altstädter Association gather in Cologne to organize a carnival in Cologne’s Old Town. They are now standing in a row with tall sandbags between them. One thousand bags will be delivered to nearby Irfastadt, which has been hit hard by the floods of recent days. Marion Zane, who is there to help, has family in the area.

A relative had to wait 12 hours on her rooftop before she was rescued. She says it is a complete mess.

This is the first time that the Carnival Society has organized a relief campaign. A disaster comparable to the floods that hit the area, members can’t remember, says Yogo Schott.

– We try to do what we can to help. He says we are taking advantage of the fact that we have organized a lot of carnivals.

Several cities have introduced special phone lines that people can call to see what they can help with.

Photography: Alexander Mahmoud

I Erftstadt Kommer The Red Cross receives sandbags. The members of the Altstädter in Cologne do not know where to go next. Only that help may be required.

Coordinating the rescue effort is a complex task. Convoys of military vehicles, trucks bearing the Red Cross emblem, police cars, ambulances and fire trucks roam the streets in flood-affected areas. Several roads are closed.

It is difficult to get an overview of what is happening in many communities in the flood-affected states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia. Relief workers refer all questions related to rescue work to the various press services of the authorities. But when the DN calls, few want to comment on the changing situation and the ongoing rescue effort.

“Unfortunately, we do not have a current situation,” says the press spokesman at the district office in Irvinestadt, where Route 265 was inundated and the Blissm area was evacuated.

City press service DN Cologne stands for Rescue Service. The rescue service asks to return, but cannot be reached. In the neighboring city of Düsseldorf, the rescue service refers to the government of Cologne. Nobody answers the phone here. Nor does the press department of the disaster agency Technisches Hilfswerk, which works in flood-affected areas.

A spokesman for the district office in Ahrweiler gives a brief answer to the question about the worst-hit areas, before asking to return at a later time.

– All areas are hardest hit, he says.

Rescue services vehicles drive back and forth along roads in the Ahrweiler district, where 98 people died as a result of the floods.

Rescue services vehicles drive back and forth along roads in the Ahrweiler district, where 98 people died as a result of the floods.

Photography: Alexander Mahmoud

Lack of information and fears of a worsening situation led to rumors spreading on social media. The authorities are appealing to people not to publish information from unreliable sources.

– Write that the Steinbachdammen did not explode, says a woman interviewed by DN in the flooded Ahrweiler district.

There is great concern about the explosion of the Steinbach Dam near Euskirchen.  On Saturday, rumors spread that she had already been inundated.

There is great concern about the explosion of the Steinbach Dam near Euskirchen. On Saturday, rumors spread that she had already been inundated.

Concerns for relatives For properties left in flood-prone areas, many people are forced to take to the roads. On social media, police and rescue services are asking people not to.

“We ask you once again not to drive into danger zones to look for relatives or secure your belongings. You are putting yourself in danger and preventing rescue work!” he writes to police in the city of Koblenz on Twitter.


https://twitter.com/Polizei_KO/status/1415887777225379843?s=20

And in parts of Ahrweiler, floods destroyed traffic communications, telephone and electricity networks. It is believed to be one of the reasons for the loss of thousands of people. On Saturday, the district office in Ahrweiler announced that the disaster management agency and the military THW had gained access to all affected areas. It is said that the water level in the area is about to drop.

Roads to the river in the Ahrweiler area have been closed.  The area was one of the first to experience severe flooding in the aftermath of Storm Bernd.

Roads to the river in the Ahrweiler area have been closed. The area was one of the first to experience severe flooding in the aftermath of Storm Bernd.

A total of 98 people have died in the Ahrweiler floods. The total number of deaths in Germany on Saturday night reached 143.

Read more:

Fight against time when parts of the city of Irvinestadt are evacuated

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