A day before the flood disaster on July 15, several inaccurate email warning messages were reportedly received. The county government did not respond to this.
According to a media report, the Ahrüler region was specifically warned of the flood disaster on the night of July 15, but without a timely response. On Saturday, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported, citing a spokesperson for the authority, that the district administration had received several automated emails from the Environment Agency of the Rhineland-Palatinate.
In the early afternoon of July 14, the government’s environment agency published a forecast that predicted a water level in Ahr significantly higher than the previous 3.7 metres. In the evening, in addition to the emails, there was also other information online from the state authority. In it and in emails to the district administration, the expected water level was mentioned at about seven meters around 9:30 pm. However, the area only declared the disaster around 11pm and began evacuation procedures.
State Minister of the Interior Roger Lewentz (SPD) referred to the FZA on responsibility for managing the area. He declared that operations that evening “will be set up exactly.”
The forewarning may have been triggered
Crisis researcher Frank Roslip made serious allegations against District Director Jürgen Pöller in the “Rhein Zeitung” (Saturday edition) published in Koblenz. The Kiel scientist said that managing disaster control is part of the primary job of every district chief and every mayor. He considers that the lack of advance warning in the Ahrweiler region cannot be explained.
According to Roslip, an advance warning could have been issued as early as the evening of July 14, “in order to be able to take emergency measures.” In fact, according to “Rhein-Zeitung”, the disaster with warning level 5 was only announced at 11:15 p.m. At this time, a report was issued to evacuate buildings at a distance of 50 meters to the right and left of the sea. When Pföhler implored residents at the time to move to higher floors, the homes had already been washed away by the blocks of water.
Meanwhile, the German Fire Association has called for the consequences of the flood disaster. “We will sit down with operations managers and representatives of regional fire brigade associations, as well as with regions and municipalities and talk about the lessons we can draw from this disaster,” said association president Karl-Heinz Pansey of Heilbroner Voice. The use of spontaneous helpers must also be better coordinated.
Request for a special session of the Bundestag
The Green Party supported the FDP’s call for a special session of the Bundestag at the beginning of August to discuss the situation after the flood disaster and the necessary consequences. “We are also working to ensure that Parliament comes together for a special session of the Bundestag on the effects of the flood disaster,” Parliamentary Secretary Britta Haselmann told the NDA newspapers.
In Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, torrential rains for more than two weeks have caused devastating floods. Many communities were devastated, particularly in the Rhineland-Palatinate Valley. Rhineland-Palatinate has reported 135 deaths so far, and 59 more people are still missing there. There have been 47 deaths in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. On Saturday, the first temporary THW bridge over the Ahr river was opened in Bad Neuenahr, and more are to be built accordingly.