“When the sun was still shining …”: Armin Laschet’s government in North Rhine-Westphalia had been warned of the flood for a long time – and continues to see no “major fundamental problems”. The outrage grows.
Düsseldorf / Berlin – Union Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet * is increasingly on the defensive after the flood disaster in North Rhine-Westphalia – not only because of his brief cheerfulness at a very serious on-site appointment *: According to reports, his state government was informed about the dangers early on. Nevertheless, the campaigner went on a journey. There was no central crisis team in the state until Monday.
At the same time, an increasing number of statements by the Prime Minister and his ministers are being targeted. It seems that some things went wrong in crisis management in Düsseldorf. In communication. And, the much more serious accusation, also when it comes to protecting the population. Laschet’s Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU *) said on Monday that there were “no fundamental problems” known.
Laschet in the flood criticism: warnings already on Monday – Minister sees “no major fundamental problems”
As early as Sunday, a report in the British Times put the disaster preparations of the federal government and the authorities in a dubious light *: The flood researcher Hannah Cloke even spoke of a “monumental failure”. On Monday it became known that there were also concrete indications of the impending disaster in NRW. The Ministry of the Interior admitted at the request of the picture a, one had already examined measures on Monday, “because such an event was foreseeable”. The “official warnings of extreme storms” had already “concretised” on Monday morning.
Video: Heavy criticism of Laschet
On the one hand, Minister Reul admitted in a live talk by the newspaper that not everything could have gone one hundred percent optimally in the fight against disasters, after all there had been deaths. However, his final verdict was met with bitter criticism in the social networks: “As far as I know today, there were no major fundamental problems.” A largely comment-free quote from PARTY MEP Nico Semsrott earned thousands of likes on Monday.
Laschet praises the crisis management facility as “nobody suspected anything” – NRW still has none
Laschet’s remarks on the catastrophe are also put under the magnifying glass with painful accuracy. For example, the chancellor candidate had praised their work in front of auxiliary workers in Hagen: “When the sun was still shining and no one suspected that anything could happen”, a crisis team had already been set up there, explained Laschet. However, warnings had been in place for a long time, as the German Weather Service had emphasized. The interpretation suggests that Laschet’s government should have taken care of the establishment of such precautions across the country.
There was, however, no reaction like in Hagen, even in Laschet’s state government. “The crisis teams meet around the clock,” said the Prime Minister on Sunday evening in a speech on the WDR. In fact, his state government did not set up such a thing by Monday – only a “coordination staff” exists, according to the Interior Ministry. The difference goes beyond mere verbiage: a crisis team would have to be set up by the state government with the participation of all departments in order to then deal with the situation in the state centrally in regular meetings. There are crisis teams in NRW at the municipal level. Unlike in Rhineland-Palatinate, which is also hard hit, where a state crisis team meets.
And that’s still not enough: While Laschet himself explained how important it is to help those affected “in acute need”, several observers referred to a contrary decision by his state government in 2019: At that time, had Laschet’s black-yellow coalition decided to restrict emergency aid, like among others fr.de* reported. The same applies to Markus Söders Bayern, among others.
Laschet restricted emergency aid – the ministry had long since identified the danger to Erftstadt
The processing of the allegations is of course complex in detail. Reul defended himself at the picture Among other things, with the note that it is “becoming more and more difficult to say exactly where the large amounts of water fall”. His house also referred to the responsibility of the districts and independent cities for the specific measures.
However, important questions remain unanswered. According to a report by the Rheinische Post In particular, the danger to the particularly hard hit city of Erftstadt has long been known. The “flood profile” of the CDU-led environment ministry clearly named the areas that were later flooded as threatened: “In the case of a hundred-year flood, large residential areas in Blessem are affected,” the paper quotes from the document. The enormously flooded B265 was also known as a risk area. At least two dozen cars were drowned there in the floods – and could only be located by sonar.
Armin Laschet still on Wednesday despite flood warning for election campaign – “Everyone knew that something was coming”
There is also criticism of Laschet’s own scheduling. Despite the danger that had apparently been known for a long time, the Prime Minister only canceled his visit to the CSU retreat in the Upper Bavarian Seeon Abbey at very short notice *. On Wednesday, the chancellor candidate was even in Stuttgart *. “Instead of taking action, NRW Prime Minister Laschet traveled to Baden-Württemberg. Election campaign dates ”, reprimanded the climate group“ Parents For Future ”on Twitter – under the hashtag“ #LaschetRuecktritt ”.
For the father of the country, the reference to the unclear local distribution of precipitation should not apply here either. “Everyone knew that something was coming,” said Minister Reul.
The first warnings about a Chancellor Laschet were also loud in view of the events at the beginning of the week. “The tragic thing is that Armin Laschet will become chancellor, possibly a so-called Germany coalition, although he simply does not intellectually grasp the dimension of the #climate crisis and is therefore not in a position to draw the right conclusions from it,” tweeted the deputy Head of the Regional Association for Renewable Energies in North Rhine-Westphalia, Andreas Lahme. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) also had to listen to a firm demand for resignation. (fn) *Merkur.de and fr.de are offers from IPPEN.MEDIA.