B.undesirable President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his condolences to the people affected by the flood disaster. “We mourn with those who have lost friends, acquaintances or family members. Your fate tears our hearts apart, ”said Steinmeier on Saturday afternoon during a visit to the particularly affected town of Erftstadt, west of Cologne. He spoke there together with the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) with those affected and the emergency services.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) is expected on Sunday in the heavily devastated region in Rhineland-Palatinate. This was confirmed by the State Chancellery in Mainz on Saturday at the request of the German Press Agency. Details are still being clarified. First of all, “Bild am Sonntag” reported on it.
“We must not disappoint this hope”
“Many have lost everything that they have built up all their lives,” said Steinmeier on Saturday in Erftstadt. He called for solidarity and donations for the victims. “Many people here in the regions have nothing left but their hope. And we must not disappoint this hope, ”said the head of state.
Steinmeier thanked the emergency services and the employees of the municipal administration, who had shouldered the command, “on behalf of all Germans”. Many would have worked “to exhaustion and beyond”. The call for help from all parts of the region is “big and urgent”. But the great loss would have to be borne by those “who lost relatives in the floods,” Steinmeier said.
“The water is receding, but it will possibly become visible in the next few days what damage remains,” said the Federal President. He warned: People trusted that solidarity would continue even if the topic no longer dominated the headlines.
Laschet promised that the state of North Rhine-Westphalia would “do everything possible” to organize non-bureaucratic direct aid for those affected. After that, structural help must be given to rebuild everything. Laschet said he was glad that both the federal government and the other countries had promised support. It is a “national task” to help the affected region. State and municipalities could not do this alone.
While the water masses are slowly retreating from many flood areas in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, the search for fatalities continues in the rubble of the disaster areas. By Saturday noon, that number rose to more than 130.
More than two days after the disaster, people are still missing in the regions. Thousands of rescue workers are deployed in the Eifel, among other places. There, too, the masses of water had devastated entire places on Thursday night. According to the NRW Interior Ministry, there were at least 43 fatalities and many injured nationwide in North Rhine-Westphalia. State Interior Minister Roger Lewentz (SPD) spoke of 362 injuries for Rhineland-Palatinate on Friday.