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Tremendous show of support: How storm victims are being helped in Bonn

Tremendous show of support : How storm victims are being helped in Bonn

The outpouring of solidarity in Bonn is enormous. More than 1,000 people have registered with the city and want to offer flood victims a place to stay. Senior citizens from flooded nursing homes in Bad Neuenahr have already found temporary homes in Bonn hotels.

On the second day after the flooding disaster along the Ahr and Erft rivers, which has claimed many lives, there has been a tremendous show of support from people who want to help. In Bonn, where the storm on Wednesday caused only property damage, more than 1,000 people have now responded to an appeal by the city to take in those who no longer have a roof over their heads.

These include hotels in Bonn, such as the Königshof on Adenauerallee. The Hilton on the banks of the Rhine is also taking in evacuees from a flooded senior citizens' facility.

State of emergency at University Hospital Bonn

State of emergency also at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) on the Venusberg: So far, more than 50 patients, some with serious injuries, have been transported by ambulance or rescue helicopter from the disaster areas to the UKB, reports Professor Christof Burger from the Surgical Center of the UKB. "The injuries range from cuts on arms and legs to broken bones, heart attacks and hypothermia," says the physician. Because some of those affected had to wait for help for a long time, in their homes and sometimes even on the roofs of buildings, their wounds were sometimes so contaminated that they could not yet be stitched up. Fortunately, he said, the university hospital has not yet had any fatalities. "We expect more patients to arrive over the next few days," Burger said.

Most of the patients came and are still mostly coming from the affected areas in the Ahrweiler district, Rhein-Sieg district and from the Euskirchen district. "For the most part, they were transported to us by the rescue services or by the technical relief organization. Our teams have been on duty around the clock," adds Professor Wolfgang Holzgreve, Medical Director and Chairman of the Board of UKB. His hospital survived the storm unscathed. In the event of a power outage, the UKB has a sufficient number of emergency power generators so that all critical areas of patient care at the UKB are covered, he assures. "The UKB also has a mobile emergency generator that can be set up on the premises if necessary."

50 senior citizens arrive at Bonn hotel

Around 50 senior citizens were taken to the Ameron Hotel Königshof. A bus transported them from their facility in Bad Neuenahr to Bonn, reports hotel director Florian Pick. Many of them were only able to gather the bare essentials that fit into a bag. One woman arrived empty-handed, wearing only a nightgown and slippers.

Employees of the hotel went with the manager of the nursing home to get clothes, underwear and hygiene products for the flood victims. "I am so proud of my team," says the hotel director, pleased that his employees were so willing to pitch in and help. Some of the new hotel residents need nursing support, he said, so employees from the nursing home also arrived to help. The seniors are fed by the hotel kitchen, Pick said. "The kitchen team is flexible and can accommodate any needs." Meals are served in event halls that the hotel team has quickly converted into dining rooms. How long those affected will be able to stay at the Hotel Königshof is uncertain at the moment, he said. "The main thing is that they are safe for now," says the director.

Pick says that many of the residents are elderly and very upset by what happened. He is glad that the Catholic and Protestant churches in Bonn immediately took over emergency pastoral care. "We will do what we can in the parishes to provide pastoral care for the evacuees. One can imagine that many are traumatized and need the proper support," said city dean Wolfgang Picken. Both churches have also started inquiries as to what living space can be made available in the communities at short notice.

Superintendent Dietmar Pistorius contacted his colleagues in the districts of Bad Godesberg-Voreifel, An Sieg und Rhein and Koblenz, which includes the Ahr region. The welfare associations of both churches - Caritas and Diakonie - have also set up accounts for donations for the people in the disaster areas. This Sunday, the churches in Bonn invite all people who are looking for a place to share their grief and sympathy for the flooding victims to a central ecumenical prayer starting at 4:30 p.m. in the Namen-Jesu-Kirche, Bonngasse 6.

Spontaneous help with drinking water containers

One of those who decided to help spontaneously is Giacomo Zucca. The 32-year-old from Bonn is often underway in the Ahr valley with his racing bike, for him the area is his second home. His parents-in-law live in Niederzissen and his daughter was born eight months ago in the hospital in Bad Neuenahr so they have ties to the area. On Friday morning, he and a friend brought 180 liters of drinking water in canisters and also clothing, to an acquaintance of his parents-in-law in Bad Neuenahr/Ahrweiler. The family acquaintance and her entire neighborhood hade been severely impacted by the flood and currently have neither drinking water nor electricity. "It's really incredible, what it looks like here," he told the GA on the phone, clearly stunned.

The city of Bonn reported on Friday afternoon that there are now more than 1,000 offers from private individuals and hotels to accommodate flooding victims. More is not needed at the moment. Over the weekend, numerous employees of the city administration will be working to bring together those seeking accommodation and those offering it. "We are overwhelmed by the variety and the abundance of offers," said Mayor Katja Dörner. Bonn's fire department is also on duty across the state line, she said. "We have helped there from the beginning and will continue to do so for at least a few more days," promises fire chief Jochen Stein.

People who are facing hardship due to the storm and are looking for shelter can contact the city of Bonn at 0228/ 771000.

(Orig. text: Lisa Inhoffen / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)