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Flooding disaster in the region: Photos show destruction of the A61 near Swisttal

Flooding disaster in the region : Photos show destruction of the A61 near Swisttal

The number of fatalities in the district of Ahrweiler due to the storm disaster has risen to 117. The Steinbach dam has now been secured. Federal Minister of the Interior Seehofer and NRW Prime Minister Laschet were on site. The A61 near Swisttal was destroyed by the flood.

Heavy rain, masses of water and landslides have devastating consequences for Rhineland-Palatinate and NRW. There are more than a hundred dead. In Bonn and the region, fire departments are on constant call. 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 cleanup efforts are underway there. The district of Ahrweiler has set up a hotline for offers of help: 02641/975-900 (hochwasserhilfe@kreis-ahrweiler.de) and a hotline "Advice and support": 02641/975-950.

Flood-ravaged B265 completely cleared – no one found

All vehicles trapped by flood waters on the flooded B265 highway near Erftstadt have been recovered. Fortunately, no dead bodies have been discovered so far, a spokesman for the Rhine-Erft district said on Monday. However, there is a rainwater retention basin near the road, which is still being pumped out.

As was announced on its Facebook page of the city of Erftstadt, five more vehicles were to be recovered from the basin in the course of Monday. However, the city also stated, "Fortunately, no people were found in the vehicles there."

On the B265 near Erftstadt, more than 100 vehicles had been trapped by the floodwater. The Rhine-Erft district had said it was unclear whether all the occupants had made it out of their cars in time when they were caught in the masses of water.

According to the district, no fatalities of the flood disaster have been found so far even in the Erftstadt district of Blessem, which was hit particularly hard. However, 29 people are still considered missing, said the spokesman of the district.

In Blessem, a huge landslide had swept away roads and houses. The break-off section at the edge of the crater is still considered a risk zone. The district is now considered cleared, according to the city. On Sunday evening, emergency forces had walked through the houses. Pets were found and rescued – no people were found.

As a precaution, the drinking water pipes of the city of Rheinbach were sampled at various points on Saturday and the samples were examined by the University Hospital in Bonn. This was communicated by the city council on Monday.

All water samples corresponded to the requirements of the drinking water regulation valid at present. The use of the drinking water is therefore harmless. As the water is increasingly drawn down in the entire city area it will initially be partly brown coloured, which is however harmless. However, should the brown coloration persist for a longer period of time, the waterworks of the city of Rheinbach asks to be contacted at 02226/9090112.

The A61 near Swisttal was destroyed by the flood. It is unclear when the highway can be reopened completely. The highway had been washed away and collapsed in places, for example near Ollheim. More pictures are available in the picture gallery.

During a visit to the disaster area on the Ahr River, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) estimated the cost of reconstruction at several billion euros. "This is an exceptional situation that, even with all the efforts on the ground, we can only manage in a great national show of strength," Seehofer said Monday in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler.

Accompanied by Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner and Rhineland-Palatinate Interior Minister Roger Lewentz (SPD), Seehofer also gained an impression of relief operations such as the construction of mobile drinking water facilities by the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW). Seehofer said that disaster control in Germany was well positioned. However, he added, the federal, state and local governments must also jointly consider what lessons can be learned from crisis management. It would be wrong "to (persist) in the arrogance" that nothing can be improved.

"To what extent, we can not say that everyone is accounted for," reported police spokesman Lars Brummer in Koblenz. He said it was still unclear how many people were missing because cell phone and telephone networks were still not working everywhere. In addition, not all reports could yet be synchronized.

Criticism of the disaster control was not heard from the districts and municipalities, nor from the political opposition. "At the moment, we are taking care of what has happened," was the message from the crisis team in the Ahrweiler district, which was hit particularly hard. The district of Vulkaneifel and the Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prüm do not see any deficiencies in the alarm chain for the time being. In the Trier-Saarburg district, an analysis was still pending. On Sunday, the state government had referred to the rapid pace at which masses of water had swept everything away.

(Original text: ga/dpa / Translation: Mareike Graepel)