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GA English on Sunday: News in Brief from Bonn and the region

GA English on Sunday : News in Brief from Bonn and the region

GA-readers have donated 5,010,119.15 euro to help flood victims, fire brigades from Bonn and Königswinter deployed to help fight fires in Greece, Amnesty International stage truck in Bonn on Saturday, and local runner from Königswinter-Bockeroth finishes eighth in Tokyo in one of the fastest ever 10,000-metre races - here is our news in brief on Sunday.

GA readers donate over five million euro

A special initiative launched by the GA-Weihnachtslicht campaign to raise money for the victims of the flooding has cracked the five-million-euro mark. Never in the almost 70-year history of the campaign has so much money been collected for a single project. Around 16,300 individual donations have been made to the Weihnachtslicht account since the initiative began in mid-July. Of this, 2.5 million euros has already been given to the district of Ahrweiler as emergency aid. In addition, 780 affected households in the Voreifel and Vorgebirge regions have received a total of 1.02 million euros. The payments will continue in the near future.

Anyone wishing to donate can make a transfer directly to the GS-Weihnachtslicht account (IBAN: DE76 3705 0198 0000 0047 70, Sparkasse KölnBonn, reference: flood relief). “Every cent donated goes directly to the people,” assures Bernd Leyendecker, Chairman of the Weihnachtslicht association. “All staff and material costs incurred are paid by the publishing company.”

Founded in 1952, the GA-Weihnachtslicht is the oldest aid campaign by a regional daily newspaper. It primarily supports elderly people in need in Bonn and the local area. In times of crisis, however, Weihnachtslicht gets involved in other areas. Last year, for example, it helped support homeless people who were particularly suffering from the contact restrictions during the corona pandemic. The current initiative was set up on the morning after the devastating floods along the Ahr and Swist rivers.

Further information can be found (in German) at www.ga.de/weihnachtslicht. (Original text: img)

Local fire-fighting resources support Greece

Following an EU request for assistance from Germany, the fire brigades from Bonn, Königswinter and Leverkusen will be supporting the operations against the forest fires in Greece. On Sunday morning, 56 emergency personnel and 19 vehicles will set off. Among them are 48 firefighters and four helpers from aid organisations in Bonn. In addition, four consultants from the non-governmental aid organisation @fire, which specialises in natural disasters, will accompany the group. The deployment forces are expected to arrive in Athens by Thursday, and the mission is scheduled to last for one week.

The deployment is part of the European Civil Protection Mechanism, which provides for so-called forest fire modules for such large fires. These can be requested at short notice within the EU. Such a module consists of four all-terrain fire-fighting vehicles, a command unit and a supply unit. The Bonn, Königswinter and Leverkusen fire brigades’ module was launched two years ago and has since served as a pilot project in Germany. (Original text: Tamara Wegbahn)

Amnesty International stage truck in Bonn

To mark its 60th anniversary, Amnesty International is touring throughout Germany with a stage truck, presenting milestones in the history of human rights on eight pillars. The organisation came to Bonn on Saturday and set up stage on the Münsterplatz with a special programme. In Bonn the Kültürklüngel-Orkestar with its multicultural cast was the ideal choice for the event.

Bettina Hoffmann from the Amnesty group in Endenich explained that there are six Amnesty groups in Bonn who carry out their work by setting up stands, running campaigns or, in the case of the Endenich activists, as so-called ‘signature hunters’. Bonn alone cannot bring authoritarian regimes to their senses, but Amnesty is a worldwide organisation, she explains. “Many ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things,” Hoffmann says, quoting Amnesty founder Peter Benenson. (Original text: Stefan Knopp)

Local middle-distance runner finishes eighth in Tokyo

Konstanze Klosterhalfen from Königswinter-Bockeroth finished eighth place in the 10,000-metre Olympic final in Tokyo on Saturday, just 26 hundredths of a second above the German record she set in February this year. Friends, neighbours and 15 members of her home club SSG Königswinter watched the race on the big screen at her parents’ home.

Konstanze’s parents were uncertain about her placing as they watched her unable to keep up with the extremely fast pace of the leaders Sifan Hassan and Letesenbet Gidey after about 4,000 metres and saw her repeatedly lapped. When Konstanze then ran to a great eighth place on the home straight, only just above her own German record, the spectators in Bockeroth cheered loudly and her parents were ecstatic. But this was the first time that her father Bernd and mother Brigitta had been unable to attend their daughter's grand final live. “We had already booked Tokyo a year ago for us and our two sons,” said Bernd.

Her parents were pleased that Konstanze had coped so well with two long injury breaks over the last few months. “Three years ago, that would have been a disaster for her. But in the meantime, she is able to cope better with her injuries. In Tokyo she was incredibly relaxed,” said Bernd Klosterhalfen. At the starting line, however, the 24-year-old seemed extremely nervous. “But the feeling went away as soon as the starting gun went off,” the runner said afterwards in a television interview. By then she was beaming again. And her happiness was infectious back in Bockeroth. Brigitta and Bernd Klosterhalfen happily accepted the congratulations of their friends, neighbours and local athletes: for a great eighth place in one of the fastest 10,000-metre races of all time. (Original text: Hansjürgen Melzer)

(Translations: Caroline Kusch)