NRW Prime Minister and CDU Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet (CDU) got an idea of the situation in Altena and Hagen. Around 440 emergency services from the fire brigade and technical relief organization and 100 members of the German armed forces were out and about in Hagen alone to master the water masses. Laschet had broken off a trip through southern Germany and also canceled his participation in the CSU retreat in Seeon, Bavaria.
Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) interrupted his vacation because of the flood. On Thursday, the Federal Finance Minister and SPD candidate for Chancellor, together with Dreyer, wanted to get an idea of the situation in the disaster area, as the ministry announced in Berlin. The Green Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock also returned prematurely from vacation.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) 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. ” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised aid to the countries affected by the flood disaster.
18 dead – whole houses washed away
In Rhineland-Palatinate, several places in the Eifel were particularly hard hit by the flood. “Unfortunately, we have to confirm that the number of fatalities in connection with the flood disaster in the Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler area has now risen to a total of 18,” said the police in the afternoon on Twitter. “Our deepest sympathy goes to all those affected.” A spokesman for the police in Koblenz announced in the evening that another person had died in the floods. Dozens of people were still missing.
In debt to the Ahr, four houses were completely washed away and two other houses half washed away on Thursday night, according to the police in Koblenz. A large number of other buildings are in danger of collapsing. The floods cut off several places from the outside world. About 50 people were rescued from the rooftops on which they had sought refuge.
Many deaths also in North Rhine-Westphalia and Cologne
In the Eifel district of Bitburg-Prüm, too, people were trapped in their homes by the masses of water. The residents of several communities were affected by power outages and restrictions on the drinking water supply.
The situation in North Rhine-Westphalia also remained tense. After the heavy rain had subsided, the fire brigade and other emergency services fought in many places with a worsening flood situation. At least 24 people died.
The Cologne police reported 20 deaths in the region. In addition to 2 dead found in Cologne, 15 dead have been reported from Euskirchen and 3 dead from Rheinbach, the police said on Thursday afternoon. Not all corpses sighted have been recovered yet. “To protect relatives, the police will not publish statements about identity, age, location and circumstances of death,” the officials said.
It was previously known that people died in connection with the storm in other parts of North Rhine-Westphalia – for example in Kamen and Solingen. In addition, two firemen died in the Sauerland. One of them had drowned while rescuing a man in Altena.
The dam had to be evacuated
The villages of Schweinheim, Flamersheim and Palmersheim were evacuated at the Steinbachtalsperre. The dam was classified by an expert as “very unstable”, said the district administrator of the Euskirchen district, Markus Ramers (SPD), the German press agency. The evacuation affected 4,500 residents. The neighboring district of Ahrweiler had previously denied rumors that the dam had already broken.
In the Rhein-Erft district, a police spokesman appealed to onlookers not to hinder the rescue work. “The current situation, in which many people fear for relatives and worry about their belongings, is not the right time for curiosity,” said Thomas Held of the dpa.
According to the German Weather Service (DWD), the peak of the extreme rainfall in parts of Germany has been exceeded. The DWD meteorologist Marco Manitta expected “the weather situation to relax” on Thursday. Although there could still be “selective heavy rain”, this was no longer as widespread as last night, said Manitta of the German press agency. “The potential for severe weather drops significantly.”