Disaster control in Ahrweiler: flood victims build houses on stilts


Ahrweiler – You lost everything except your love for your homeland!

The flood of death robbed them of wedding favors, sofas and family photos. The ground floor of urban planner Ulla (61) and teacher Hanns Stüßer (69) from Sinzig is still covered with mud three months after the disaster.

How many in Ahrweiler were faced with the decision: go or stay? But the couple doesn’t give up. Their idea: a house on stilts. Because they are afraid that the water masses will come back.



Shattered windows recall the hours when the couple was evacuated – and the tidal wave destroyed their homePhoto: Simon Sticker

Ulla to BILD: “The first reflex was that we have to get out of here. But after a few days it became clear to us: We want to stay. And then we got an idea! “

Living at a height of three meters

They are building an apartment building for themselves and their neighbors, who previously lived in single-family houses. Ten parties are to move in here. The first floor begins at a height of three meters. There will only be parking spaces on the ground floor. In an emergency, residents can drive their cars away.


At a height of three meters, the neighborhood from Sinzig wants to move closer together than ever

At a height of three meters, the neighborhood from Sinzig wants to move closer together than everPhoto: Ralph Schweitzer architects

Ulla: “We feel closely connected to our neighborhood. The residents will be safe. ”For the Ahr valley, the Stüßers are hopes for the future. Because: As soon as the next flood comes, the house should save human lives.

The building permit has been granted. The groundbreaking ceremony will follow next year. Cost: 4 million euros. The residents can move in at Christmas 2023 – without fear of the next flood.

Europe’s disaster heroes

17 Axel Springer journalism students met those affected by environmental disasters. “HEROPEANS” tells the stories of Europeans who do not surrender to their fate, but act – and protect their homeland.

All videos of the project: www.heropeans.com

More information on journalist training at Axel Springer is available here.

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