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WEATHER

‘Solidarity in crisis’: Financial aid pours in for German flood victims

After catastrophic flash floods submerged numerous villages and valleys in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, the state government has set up an emergency aid fund for those affected, while football organisations have also made donations.

'Solidarity in crisis': Financial aid pours in for German flood victims
A mountain of destroyed furniture lies in the sodden streets on July 16th after the Kyll River broke its banks. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Harald Tittel

In a press release announcing the new donations account, state premier Malu Dreyer said the state had experienced a wave of solidarity and helpfulness in the wake of the natural disaster.

READ ALSO: LATEST: More than 100 dead after flood disaster in western Germany

“This national catastrophe shows once again that Rhineland-Palatinate stands together in these difficult times. That makes me incredibly proud,” she said.

“We are currently receiving numerous inquiries as to how people affected by the storm in Rhineland-Palatinate can be supported,” state minister of the interior Roger Lewentz and state minister of finance Doris Ahnen said on Friday.  

“This shows that the population is really willing to help.”

The donations pot was set up by the State Ministry of the Interior at Sparkasse Mainz.

Donations can be made using the keyword “Katastrophenhilfe Hochwasser” (Disaster Aid Flood). Bank details for the account can be found in the state press release.

Football organisations raise €3m for flood victims

The German Football League and the German Football Association have also promised financial aid to the victims of the flood disaster in western Germany.

In a joint announcement on Friday, the organisations want to set up an aid fund with three million euros.


Residents of a flood-hit town try to clear the mud from gardens and streets on Friday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Harald Tittel

“The images of the floods and devastation, the full extent of this catastrophe, leave us affected and appalled,” said a joint statement. “Our thoughts go with the relatives of the deceased, the injured and the many people in need.”

READ ALSO: Why have so many died in the German floods?

The money will not be able to alleviate human suffering, they said.

“But we hope to be able to provide support together at least in some areas. In this crisis situation, solidarity is a given.”

In addition, the DFB has also contacted the European Football Union UEFA, which has also agreed to support.

Government will do ‘everything in its power’ to offer support 

In the wake of the disaster, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) promised unmitigated support at all governmental levels for those who had been affected by the floods.

“You can trust that every part of our state – from the federal, state and local governments – will do everything possible to save lives, avert dangers and alleviate hardship, even under the most difficult of conditions,” she said in a press conference on Thursday. 

READ ALSO: Merkel pledges ‘full support’ to flood victims during White House visit

Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer (CSU) and Minister for Agriculture Julia Klöckner (CDU) have both said that those who have lost their belongings in the flood will be given financial aid quickly and unbureaucratically.

“These are great tragedies, they can hardly be put into words,” explained Klöckner, who is also the CDU chairwoman for Rhineland-Palatinate. “The federal government will be at the side of those affected with all the means at its disposal.”

Having returned from a diplomatic visit to the United States, Merkel is said to be in discussions about visiting the flood-hit areas in the coming days.

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WEATHER

Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

A stranded cargo ship caused traffic to be halted Wednesday at the Rhine river in western Germany after suffering a technical fault, authorities said, at a time when water transport was already ailing from a drought.

Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

The vessel is stuck at St. Goar and Oberwesel, in between the cities of Mainz and Koblenz, water police said, adding that they were expecting to clear the stricken ship within the day.

The machine damage came as water levels in the Rhine had dropped to critical points at several locations, including at nearby Kaub — a known bottleneck for shipping where the river runs narrow and shallow.

The gauge at Kaub stood at 34 cm (13 inches) on Wednesday, well below the 40-cm reference point.

While vessels are still able to navigate at low water levels, they are forced to reduce their loads to avoid the risk of running aground.

About four percent of freight is transported on waterways in Germany, including on the Rhine, which originates in Switzerland and runs through several countries including France and Germany before flowing into the sea in the Netherlands.

READ ALSO: How the Rhine’s low water levels are impacting Germany

Transport on the Rhine has gained significance in recent months because among cargo moved on the river is coal, now all the more necessary as Germany seeks to wean itself off Russian gas.

Germany’s biggest companies have already warned that major disruptions to river traffic could deal another blow to an economy already beset by logistical difficulties.

The 2018 drought, which saw the benchmark depth of the Rhine in Kaub drop to 25 cm in October, shrank German GDP by 0.2 percent that year, according to Deutsche Bank Research.

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