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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

The flood-hit disaster areas are experiencing rain once again, designs for changes to the Bonn Melbbad pool in Bonn will be available after the holidays, the crisis team in the Ahr valley has asked volunteers to stay away for a few days, and only two bridges have remained intact in the urban area of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler – here is our news in brief on Sunday.

The flood-hit disaster areas are experiencing rain once again

Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler/Erftstadt. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the German Weather Service (DWD) does not expect any severe weather disaster this weekend, but in areas already damaged by flooding, there could be problems from Saturday evening onwards due to new rainfall. In Rhineland-Palatinate, local precipitation in the range of a maximum of 30 to 40 litres per square meter were expected on Saturday and from early on Sunday morning, the weather situation could worsen.

An evacuation offer has been made to the already affected communities, and in the areas of Schuld, Insul, Dümpelfeld and Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, people have the option to be brought to an emergency shelter in Leimersdorf by shuttle bus. Although the situation is not comparable to that last week, there is no longer a functioning sewer system; therefore, any rainfall would have a different effect than ten days ago. The current aim is to remove the mountains of rubbish that is piling up on the roadsides, which are a potential source of disease, and also disrupt traffic. Problems could also arise in North Rhine-Westphalia if large amounts of rain flushed rubbish into the drains and clogged them.

The State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection warned citizens to stop working on clean-up. Localised heavy rain could suddenly cause localised the flooding of water bodies where runoff was already impaired by sand or gravel bars, trees and other debris from past storms. In Blessem, no one is still allowed to approach within 100 metres of the deep gully that was created.

Relief workers from the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) have sometimes received an unfriendly reception during their deployment in flooded areas, THW Vice President Sabine Lackner told RTL/ntv on Saturday that when they are on the road with emergency vehicles, they are pelted with rubbish. Koblenz police expressed dismay at the reports and said they would take immediate and decisive action against this. At the moment, however, police in Koblenz could not confirm the reports. Police in North Rhine-Westphalia are also not aware of similar incidents, a spokesman said.

After an ARD charity gala on Friday, another TV fundraising gala took place on Saturday evening. Together with the German aid organisations, the private broadcaster Sat.1 collected money for the victims. Presenter Daniel Boschmann hosted the programme and spoke with Armin Laschet, the Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as with people affected by the floods.

(Original text: dpa)

Designs for changes to the Bonn Melbbad pool will be available after the holidays

Poppelsdorf. It has been almost a year since the city was forced to close the Melbbad pool in Poppelsdorf after a storm in August last year. Severe damage had occurred in an underground technical room and a survey concluded that the pool could no longer be opened this season. On December 14, 2020, the city council instructed the administration to commission plans for the demolition of the dilapidated swimming pool building and its replacement with a contemporary new building for changing rooms, sanitary facilities and staff rooms, as well as outdoor pool catering. Based on this decision, the administration had commissioned a feasibility study and as soon as this is available, the city will present the results to the political committees. It is expected that the drafts for the changes will be published this coming autumn, together with costs and time frames.

The 30-page report by expert appraisers not only criticized defects in the technical room, but stated that the changing rooms and showers in the terrace building are not sufficiently safe. The kiosk building was also too dilapidated to continue operating. Another technical room next to the main building, which houses the pool's filtration system, was also deemed to be unsafe to operate. Until this description of the situation, it had been hoped to be able to keep the pool open this season. The suggestion to the city was that it should at least make parts of the functional buildings available. Together with the “Save the Melbbad” initiative, which had initiated the successful referendum in November 2020 against development of the pool with functional rooms on the lowest floor, the association had suggested financing additional containers with sanitary facilities such as showers at the expense of citizens. Such a temporary interim solution was ruled out by the city, the association and the initiative.

(Original text: Philipp Königs)

The crisis team in the Ahr valley has asked volunteers to stay away for a few days

Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. On the tenth day after the flood disaster in the Ahr valley, the rush of volunteers to the crisis areas has been so great that transport has been overstretched. Shuttle buses are overloaded, and in some cases, it takes helpers hours to cover the last few kilometres. In addition, a large number of trucks and tractors were present to help with waste disposal. At noon on Saturday, the crisis team asked all volunteers to leave the Ahr valley. Using shuttle buses, they tried to bring the people out of the valley and said that they should stay away for a few days, so that the huge mountains of rubbish could be removed during the coming rainy days.

In addition to the German Armed Forces and the Technical Relief Service, many truck and tractor drivers set off on secondary roads to a landfill site in Niederzissen, where 120 refuse collectors are at work. The return journey then takes the A61 in the direction of the Ahr valley. Therefore, right-hand lane of the A61 in the direction of Cologne is closed to private traffic. An initial forecast states that 200,000 cubic metres of bulky waste and 50,000 to 60,000 electrical appliances will end up in the landfill. In addition, there are vast amounts of construction debris, flotsam and hundreds of vehicles. Over a stretch of 40 kilometres, the flood has affected about 7,000 properties.

Meanwhile, the number of organised helpers from relief organisations has been increased to 7,500 people. Currently, bridges or bridge remains have to be freed from flotsam to avert congestion. Head of Operations Heinz Wolschendorf emphasised at the daily press conference that the German Armed Forces have again transported 145 tonnes of relief supplies to the affected areas since Friday, with special attention being paid to the Altenahr municipality.

In the local district administration, about 200 of the 550 employees were personally affected by the floods and most are on leave. The district had received administrative assistance from neighbouring municipalities and 2,000 of the thousands of applications for emergency aid submitted since Thursday have been processed.

(Original text: Thomas Weber)

Only two bridges remained intact in the urban area of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler

Ahrweiler district. At one of the first meetings of the crisis team in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler after the catastrophe, it was clear what a major role the number of bridges still available would have on the disaster relief of the next few days. The southern part of the city was almost isolated and only accessible for a long time via the bridge in Lohrsdorf. The great St. Pius Bridge in the heart of the city was still completely buried under the brown masses of water and there was not much hope of saving it. But now it is once again usable by residents and helpers, making life much easier and reducing travel times from one bank to the other from 45 minutes to 5 minutes.

The extent of the damage along the entire Ahr, from Schuld to the estuary in Sinzig, is still difficult to gauge. Interior Minister Roger Lewentz (SPD) spoke of 62 destroyed and 13 damaged bridges in the district of Ahrweiler, which included pedestrian, car and railway bridges. However, the Rhineland-Palatinate State Office for Mobility (LBM) in Koblenz cannot confirm the figure. Inspectors are on site to see which bridges can be saved or must be demolished. Some places are still completely cut off, including Mayschoß in the Ahrweiler district, and the car bridge near Sinzig on the B9 has been destroyed.

There is also a temporary bridge in Insul. A quick permanent bridge replacement is being planned from this Tuesday. Emergency passenger transport across the Ahr will be ensured by the army.

Since the middle of the week, people from Lohrsdorf have been reconnected to the water network. In almost all eastern parts of the city of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, running water is again flowing, but the supply in Ahrweiler, Bachem and Walporzheim, is not yet resecured.

The head of the crisis management team, Thomas Linnertz, said that still major problems still existed in supplying the population with drinking water, electricity and gas. To ensure that information about the locations of water tanks and mobile power generators reaches affected people, the city of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler has set up so-called service points since mid-week. At eleven locations in the city, municipal employees are available daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to answer questions. In addition, applications for emergency aid from the district and the state can be filled out and submitted there.

(Original text: Raphaela Sabel with dpa)

(Translations, John Chandler)