"The floods have been a flood disaster by design" A harrowing reader's report from the disaster zone
PUBLISHED ON Jul 17, 2021
I am affected by the disaster in Euskirchen. My family lost everything in Odendorf, we are without electricity, hot water, internet, telephone or mobile phone, all belongings are gone. I am less affected materially, but my family has been badly hit. I'll start from the beginning: The flooding was a catastrophic flood with a forecast. Weeks before the disaster, the dams were already full to the brim and the soils were soaked that no further water could be absorbed. The information can be checked at the dams stands. The weather situation with continuous rain and heavy rain can also be checked online.
Even before that, the civil protection should have pumped out water to counteract the announced weather situation. On 14.7. the continuous rain turned into heavy rain. Gullies and canals were already flooded at 18:00 and fountains, including pond fish, shot out of the streets. At 19:00 the first pictures of Odendorf reached me, the car of my daughter-in-law and that of her mother were already swimming, the small stream had turned into a raging, torrential water, streets flooded, rails washed out. The basement was flooded and people fled to the upper floor. Meanwhile, Euskirchen was already flooded, power outages and communications were already paralyzed.
The water was everywhere. The pedestrian zone, parking garages, residential buildings, stores - everything was under water. In Odendorf, the water forcefully pushed through the ceiling of the upper floor. Furniture and electrical appliances swam against the walls, hit the ceiling. My family fled the now flooded house via the attic, with a 4-year-old! At that point, it was all up to the volunteer fire department. No disaster control, no federal armed forces. THW and neighboring farmers with slurry pumps were the only support.
My family's neighbor drowned in his own house. The next day, the extent of the disaster in Euskirchen was catastrophic. We were completely cut off from the outside world and neighbors helped each other. The scrap inventory was cleared out of the houses.
Basic supplies were dead. Food was needed, but stores were closed except for a few and you could only pay with cash. After all, it was drilled into us during Corona to avoid this. In the little affected branch of a savings bank cash withdrawal was not possible even 2 days after the flood. So neighbors jumped in again so that at least water could be bought. We managed 500 meters in 45 minutes by car, then turned around. No one could be reached, the cell phone network is dead to this day. Odendorf is not accessible, we were not informed, because neither radio nor television had reception. If one still has a device at all ... in the meantime there is looting in the city center. No electricity, no security - just those who sweep debris, mud and garbage with a blank stare. This was an eyewitness account from my brother-in-law.
The house is in ruins
Everything is in ruins, paving stones torn away, all stores destroyed. 24/7 sirens, rescue workers, helicopters, you feel like you are at war. One does not sleep. At 4:00 a.m. the first reception bar on the cell phone. Desperate attempts to reach the family in Odendorf. No use. No reception. Finally reached the missing persons office. Odendorf was evacuated, but they had no lists of who had been evacuated. This list is taken up because of the calls reporting missing persons. Two days of desperate search for the son, his wife, her mother and my granddaughter. Finally found on 7/16, in a town 15 km away. They lost everything. Meanwhile, their car was found upside down on the railroad tracks in Odendorf. The house is in ruins.
Our "public television" are neighbors and acquaintances who share. But we have heard how sad our chancellor is, how concerned politicians visit our places. Seriously? We were not protected, help comes from residents! We offer sleeping places, organize clothes and food, provided by private companies, neighbors and friends. We do not need pity! We need urgent and unbureaucratic help in the form of money! People have lost everything here: Houses, cars, belongings, photos, toys. Everything! We in the affected areas are registered, have a tax number, through which emergency aid can be distributed! We need a basic supply! How can we boil [the unclean] water without electricity?
Luisa Neubauer is on strike for us and the climate? Please let it be! Loosen money, your family has enough! The last thing we need are jumping, incompetent activists! Would we have gotten away with e-cars? Where would we have charged them? Get out there with shovels, tools and emergency generators and actively help! I blame politics for the misery. We were defenseless and wantonly exposed to the catastrophe. Everyone was forewarned, but they waited and saw how bad it would get. Now, please, put your money where your mouth is and help the people who have lost everything. Money from mask deals, child benefit abroad, money for a useless Europe, money for China, India etc. we need now! You can forget about pity and discussions. Secure our basic supply! Help us! We can use every helping hand.
We are traumatized. Everyone has lost someone they know. And it's not over yet. Thank you for nothing, nothing at all. You can't even remotely imagine our situation! But I am grateful for the tireless efforts of the helpers! I am sad with the people who have lost their relatives and friends. And I am angry, because perhaps it could not have been avoided, but could have been mitigated.
I have been wondering the same thing myself. If this pattern keeps up as fall and winter approach, things might get really ifffy.