Worst floods in a decade claim lives in Germany
June 2013; thousands of volunteers and emergency personnel including firefighters and soldiers are working hard to contain the most dramatic floods in Germany in a decade.
Several days of heavy rains at the beginning of June caused dramatic flooding across many areas of Central Europe. The Elbe, which is the continent’s 4th largest river rose 7.7 meters, and in places broke its banks, making bridges and streets impassable in many regions of eastern and northern Germany.
Twenty people died and thousands of residents were evacuated from their homes and put up in emergency shelters, where they waited for the floodwaters to recede.
Rapid Relief Team rallied to assist
As water was rising in the north of Germany, members of the Plymouth Brethren in Hamburg quickly rallied to support emergency services at one of the city’s largest sandbagging depots. Their efforts helped to fill an average 38,000 sandbags a day! The Rapid Relief Team (RRT – Hilfe in Not) also provided drinks for the hard-working rescue personnel, DLRG (Deutsche Lebensrettungs-Gesellschaft).
Many of the firefighters, soldiers and rescue teams expressed gratitude for their support — being exhausted, having worked tirelessly day and night to secure the many hundreds of kilometers of dikes in order to protect their cities and villages from the floods.
President and Chancellor visit
On his visit to flood-stricken cities, President Joachim Gauck paid tribute to the way the inhabitants had coped. He said, “It’s fantastic to see how different people get together to help others. And you notice that many of them are exhausted, but they are happy and it seems to motivate them.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel also visited the flooded area, on four occasions. She also paid tribute, saying she was deeply impressed by the actions of the volunteers racing to fill sandbags. She promised immediate aid of 100 million Euros.