Monday, June 27

Tragedy in Germany | “This is more than a flood. It is an apocalypse.”

Image of the devastation caused by the severe flood in Germany, in Iversheim.

Image of the devastation caused by the severe flood in Germany, in Iversheim.

This is more than one flood. This is an apocalypse“says Cornelia Wiegand, the mayor of Altenahr, one of the towns devastated by the storm in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.” The water came down from the slopes with a height of 40 centimeters towards the center of the town. We have never seen anything like this here. At the same time, the river Ahr tripled its flow. The waterspout has destroyed our town, it has washed away houses. This valley has never experienced a flood like this. ”

Wiegand explains the situation as he walks through the devastated place with the company of a German public television crew Phoenix that managed to get there. The video, over 10 minutes long, shows the effects of the worst floods in decades in Germany: smashed bridges, piled cars, trees lodged in the roofs of houses that have been left standing, streets cut by mountains of mud, the railway lines of the station lifted by the water.

Many people were saved after climbing on the roofs of their houses. They were taken out by the helicopters of the rescue teams after spending the night there, “explains the mayor of the town, still in shock.” We need urgent help, “asks the mayor, looking directly at the camera.

At the time of filming the interview, last Thursday morning, local politics did not even know the number of deaths and disappearances caused by a storm that turned the small river that crosses Altenahr into a veritable torrent of water in a few minutes. The local and regional authorities of North Rhine-Westphalia and of Rhineland-Palatinate -the two federal states most affected- recognize that it is still difficult to take stock of the loss of human life and material damage; many towns are still isolated by the floods and the network and internet have been unusable, making communication difficult.

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“Like a bomb”

Regional and national politicians try to convey hope and pledge financial support to those affected. Meanwhile, and given the difficulty of accessing many of the devastated places, social networks and the local press have become a first-hand source of numerous testimonies that have survived these historic floods. “It looks like a battlefieldIt is as if a bomb had been dropped, “a resident of the city of Trier, in Rhineland-Palatinate, tells WDR regional public television, after the authorities have allowed him to return to his street.

Those who managed to survive the torrential rains agree on how quickly the torrent arrived. “The water rose to the roof of the first floor of the building in a minute,” Matthias Mando, director of an organization that runs care centers for people with disabilities, told DPA. In one of these centers located in the town of Sinzig, 12 people died after the torrent penetrated the building within minutes. No one could save them.

In the Ahrweiler district alone, where the town of Altenahr ruled by Mayor Cornelia Wiegand is located, there are dozens of missing persons. The police are not even able at the moment to establish a figure of the people who are still being wanted by the rescue teams.

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