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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

he level of the Rhine has reached a peak in Bonn and started to go down on Saturday, more than 300 people are still missing in the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg area due to the catastrophic floods, the Ahrweiler district press office has stressed that uncoordinated help for clean-up work on the Ahr is not useful at the moment, rescue operations in Erftstadt are recovering vehicles up to twelve meters below the water level – here is our news in brief on Sunday.

The level of the Rhine has reached a peak and started to go down on Saturday.

According to the city of Bonn, the level of the Rhine was 7.69 metres late on Friday evening and parts of the riverside promenades in Beuel, Bad Godesberg and downtown Bonn were flooded. In Bonn, the water level was expected to reach a high of eight meters. However, the water level on Saturday morning dropped a few centimetres to 7.56 metres. The highest level reached on Friday was the highest ever reached in a July since the city of Bonn began keeping records.

The city had already closed the Rathenauufer and Brassertufer. Apart from one vehicle, all other cars had been removed from the banks. The level is now expected to slowly fall again, but remains high. Further developments depend on any rainfall in the next few days and on the coincidence of the situation on the Rhine and Moselle.

The city has set up barriers on the access roads to the Rhine along Rüdigerstrasse, to prevent anyone from driving their car into the flood. In the Rhine villages, the towpath directly on the river is completely flooded and the higher Rhine bank path in Hersel, Uedorf and Widdig is closed to all vehicles until further notice due to the danger of landslides. According to the city, this closure will continue as long as the water levels of the Rhine remain as high as they are at present, or at least as long as the towpath is flooded.

In Bonn, Deutsche Bahn is still reporting considerable restrictions in long-distance travel for all those who want to travel in the direction of Cologne, Düsseldorf or Dortmund or in the opposite direction towards Koblenz. There will be detours with delays and train cancellations. The section Cologne-Wuppertal-Hagen-Dortmund is currently impassable. This also applies to the Cologne to Koblenz route via Bonn main station.

The Bonn public utility company gave the all-clear for local public transport. The restrictions caused by the storm were largely lifted on Friday, but detours and delays may still exist in bus and rail traffic. The line 18 tram will continue to run every half hour between Bonn's main train station and Brühl. Line 68 resumed from Friday afternoon from "Brühler Straße" in the direction of Ramersdorf. The bus and train stop "Am Propsthof" is accessible again.

(Original text: Lisa Inhoffen, Christoph Meurer, Maximilian Mühlens and Rajkumar Mukherjee)

More than 300 people are still missing in the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg area

The death toll from the storm disaster in NRW and Rhineland-Palatinate continues to rise and there are more than a hundred dead. In Bonn and the region, fire departments are in constant deployment. In the district of Ahrweiler, a disaster situation was declared and entire villages were destroyed. In Rheinbach and Swisttal, entire villages were evacuated, and initial clean-up efforts are underway. In Rheinbach, a firefighter lost his life. The district of Ahrweiler has set up a hotline for assistance: 02641/975-900 (hochwasserhilfe@kreis-ahrweiler.de) and a hotline "Advice and support": 02641/975-950. More than 300 people in the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg district are still considered to be missing. This was announced by the Cologne police on Saturday evening. According to the report, the Euskirchen district has more than 70 missing persons. By Saturday evening, 2 dead were recovered in Cologne, 26 in Euskirchen and 8 in the Rhine-Sieg district. Around 300 emergency personnel are searching for missing persons in the areas devastated by the floods, with seven divers and five boats of the Lower Saxony police. Rescue and emergency forces from the fire department, the German Armed Forces and several aid organisations are supporting the very difficult search in buildings, under rubble and piled-up mountains of household goods and in vehicles.

Rumours of dam bursts in the districts of Ahrweiler and Euskirchen have been denied by the authorities. Two hundred police officers have also been deployed to deal with looters and to protect the belongings of people affected.

The Cologne district government has set up a hotline for those affected by the flood disaster. People who are missing relatives can call 0221-147-2206.

(Original text: GA)

Uncoordinated help for clean-up work on the Ahr is not useful at the moment.

Ahrweiler district. On Saturday, a member of a supporting unit of the Ahrweiler district press office asked private helpers to please stay away from the disaster areas, because uncoordinated help is of no use. Although there are already quite a few successful private relief actions and grateful flood victims, as can be followed on social media, the following applies to the disaster area in the district of Ahrweiler: "We are still in the absolute chaos phase." It continues to be primarily about recovering people: alive, injured or dead. And even the citizens who are already safe are currently lacking basic necessities such as drink, food and rest. An appeal was made to the many willing helpers: "We are still at the very beginning. Muscle power is still needed, over days and months, but at the earliest from next week.

Andreas Solheid, press spokesman for the fire departments of the Adenau association municipality, also said: "The offers of help are impressive and we will further strengthen the central number for coordination today. However, private cars massively disrupt traffic in the areas of operation. Do not approach the areas along the Ahr!" Despite this, the volume of traffic on the access roads to the disaster areas is high and racing cyclists on the road are also obstructing the rescue units.

Some places, including those on the Mittelahr, such as Dernau, Mayschoß or Rech, have only recently become accessible again, even for the official task forces. Private individuals are not encouraged to be there, not only because they hinder the work of the fire department, Bundeswehr and technical relief agency (THW), but also because they put themselves in danger. In a recent announcement, for example, the Koblenz police warned against exposed power lines in the disaster area.

(Original text: Raphaela Sabel)

Rescue operations in Erftstadt are recovering vehicles twelve meters below the water level

Erftstadt. The main road through Erfstadt has turned into a disaster area and resembles a landscape of rubble. When the mass of water came, there were numerous cars and trucks on the B265, up to 12 metres below the water level. Within minutes, they were submerged. Some people saved themselves, but whether people are still in the submerged cars, no one can say at this time, but no missing persons have been reported to the fire department. It is not possible to predict how long the salvage work will take, but the fire services are waiting until the water recedes, because it is too dangerous for divers in the brown sludge."

On the fourth day of the disaster, the scale of the catastrophe is slowly becoming visible in Erftstadt. The district of Blessem, which lies directly on the B265, is sealed off. No one can get in anymore apart from rescue equipment and structural engineers, who are checking whether the houses are still safe. After the collapse of three houses and parts of the historic castle, there is concern that more buildings could collapse and slide into the crater.

On Saturday afternoon, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited the flood disaster on the B265. He listened to rescue workers describe the extent of the disaster and was visibly moved.

North Rhine-Westphalia's Prime Minister Armin Laschet, who came to Erfstadt with Steinmeier, called the floods a "catastrophe of the century," the consequences of which the state and local authorities could not cope with alone. However, there are also signs of hope in Erfstadt. So far, there have been no confirmed fatalities, but it could still not be ruled out that fatalities would be found, said a spokesman for the Rhine-Erft district.

(Original text: Christian Schwerdtfeger)