The communality is strong when people clear the old town of Bad Münstereifel. The river Erft destroyed the center, which was hundreds of years old.
Near In the Eifel National Park, just over 30 kilometers southwest of Bonn, lies the medieval gem: Bad Münstereifel. Its history dates back to the 8th century, when a monastery was established on the site. The old town is still surrounded by a medieval wall.
Bad Münstereifel attracts a wide range of tourists. It is a popular spa town for health tourists. The famous pilgrimage route, St. James’s Road to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, also runs through the city.
“Bad Münstereifel is considered by both locals and visitors to be an exceptionally harmonious part of the world,” says city on its website.
On Sunday, July 18, the claim could not be less true. Instead, the city’s motto is perhaps more true than ever before. It reads: “Close to nature, authentic, lively.”
Last during the week the power of nature surprised Bad Münstereifel. The Erft River, which flows through the city, was flooded with such force that the restaurants, shops and apartments of the old town were filled with water. The windows were broken, the streets surrounding the river were torn from their junctions.
The center, destroyed on Sunday, is full of people, speech and revelry. Midsummer holiday is beautiful and hot. This time the speaker is not due to tourists. Large-scale troops are underway in the city as hundreds of people work together to wipe out the devastation left behind by the flood.
The atmosphere is not crushed. There are smiles on the face, sometimes there is laughter. People are covered in dry toes covered with dried mud.
“We’re like a big family now,” he says Jan Herling, 19.
Herling, who works in the car sales industry, arrived in Bad Münstereifel on Sunday with a friend Julius Minksin, 19, with.
Herling’s parents live in Bad Münstereifel. The young people themselves live in the nearby town of Zülpich. Also flooded there, but not as badly as here.
That is why they have arrived in the hard-to-destroy area after getting their own homes cleaned up.
“We ask people where help is needed,” Herling says. Now they have emptied the houses of mud, rubbish and stuff.
People are organized incredibly well, communally like ants. A hose of dozens of people runs through the center of the old town. The first one always sends a new stack of chips or goods and it moves from one hand to the other until it reaches a huge pile of rubbish on the other side of the river.
The rhythm is fast-paced. The work looks heavy in the heat, but the team spirit is good.
In front of the town hall we meet the army overpower Kevin Lobben, 32. He says the German federal authorities are currently working around the clock in Bad Münster.
“We find out who the helpers are and who needs help and connect them,” Lobbe says.
Finding those in need has been easy, he said.
In addition, the state organizes the equipment and tools for the clearing contract. Volunteers need rubber boots, work gloves, shovels and wheelbarrows. In addition, there is a need for more robust equipment such as excavators, trucks and garbage trucks.
An army generator also spins next door, which spins the authorities’ internet connections.
Transporting excavators and large garbage trucks to the narrow alleys of the old town has required careful art. Currently, one of the most difficult tasks is getting organized waste transportation out of town, Lobbe says. The space is running out when scrap piles are everywhere.
Near in the town hall sit four young men who, covered in dust and mud, look a little like soldiers too. They are Sebastian Gebauer, 33, Jan Röllgen, 24, Sven Schnichels, 25 and Alex Moesch, 25. The men say they arrived on Sunday at 11 p.m.
“My friends called and said I needed help here,” says Jan Röllgen.
The flood had also hit Röllgen’s own locality and filled his basement with water. However, he had already had time to clean it up.
“Now is an opportunity to help others.”
The men have just been cleared to clear the factory shop of a flood-torn cake factory. The work has been hard. Wet sand weighs a lot, they explain. The space where waste and sludge can be piled up is also threatening to run out. However, just at least one new waste pallet will be brought to the site.
“Now we’re eating a stomach full of sausage and waiting for the next assignment,” Röllgen says.
There is a lot of food help available. Near the town hall there is a stack of groceries: water, milk, soup, fruit, can pineapple, potato chips, salt sticks and a jar of can. There are also toiletries and tools. There is hand soap, toothpaste, toilet paper and rubber boots.
Free food is also distributed by companies. Next door, brat sausages, potatoes and lemonades are shared by a local food cart.
Chef Michael Dzielbo says the flood destroyed the company’s original food cart. The owner quickly ordered a new one from Hamburg.
Once the carts were sold to tourists and locals, food is now distributed free to helpers. According to Dzielbo, they plan to continue offering free food for at least another two or three days.
The Taliban have been hungry.
“Yesterday went for about 150 pounds of potatoes and at least more than 700 sausages.”