Politicians from all parties reacted in dismay to the disaster reports from the regions affected by Tief ‘Bernd’. Chancellor Merkel expressed her condolences to the relatives of the victims.
An end to the severe weather catastrophe triggered by low ‘Bernd’ in several parts of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia is currently not in sight. Prime Minister Malu Dreyer and Prime Minister Armin Laschet have now spoken out and encourage all those affected. There are also initial reactions from federal politics.
Malu Dreyer: ‘I worry about the local people’
The Rhineland-Palatinate state government has scheduled a special session because of the storm in the Eifel. ‘We have never seen a disaster like this. It is really devastating, ‘said Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) in Mainz. ‘There are dead, missing and many who are still in danger.’
All forces are on duty around the clock and risk their own lives in the process. Your condolences go to the victims of the flood disaster, said Dreyer. ‘I worry about the local people.’
The head of government announced that she would get his own impression of the situation on site together with Interior Minister Roger Lewentz (SPD). She appealed to the residents of the disaster area to stay in their homes. ‘We mobilize everything to save you!’
Eifel town with 740 inhabitants
Residents return to guilt – and find their village in ruins
‘Shaken by the disaster’
North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) has promised the support of the state to the people in Altena, which has been badly affected by the storm. The citizens of Altena are particularly affected, many millions of people are currently thinking of them, said Laschet on Thursday in Radio MK, the local radio of the Märkischer Kreis.
See in the video: Aerial photos from Ahrweiler show the extent of the flood destruction.
‘We will do everything, from the police, from the fire brigade, from the country, so that normality returns here in Altena as quickly as possible,’ promised Laschet. The country is now initially helping with the disaster control plans. Then it is a matter of taking stock of how the region could otherwise be helped.
In Altena and nearby Werdohl, two firefighters were killed during a rescue operation. One died rescuing a man who got into the water. The second collapsed during a mission.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) was shocked to comment on the floods in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia and thanked the helpers. ‘I am shocked by the disaster that so many people have to suffer in the flood areas,’ said Merkel, according to a tweet from government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Thursday. ‘My condolences go out to the relatives of the dead and missing. I thank the many tireless helpers and emergency services from the bottom of my heart. ‘
Merkel is currently on her last visit to the USA as Chancellor in Washington. In the afternoon she wants to meet US President Joe Biden.
‘Flood disaster of tremendous proportions’
Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) interrupts his vacation because of the floods in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia. On Thursday, the Federal Finance Minister and SPD candidate for Chancellor, together with Malu Dreyer, wanted to get an idea of the situation in the disaster area, as the ministry in Berlin announced on request. ‘The people in the disaster area are in need, the damage is immense,’ explained Scholz. ‘The federal government has to lend a hand.’ He will do everything to ensure that the federal government provides financial aid.
The top candidate of the left and co-parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch has called for rapid help for the people and places affected by the flood. ‘The federal and state governments should quickly set up an aid fund,’ he told the German Press Agency in Berlin on Thursday. The affected regions deserved the solidarity of the entire country. ‘People and communities must be helped quickly and unbureaucratically. In parts of Germany we are experiencing a flood of enormous proportions. Our thoughts and sympathy are with the bereaved of the victims, ‘said Bartsch. ‘We can only hope that all the missing will be saved.’