In the night from 14 to 15 July 2021, unimaginable masses of water devastated many regions in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia. 134 people died in the Ahr valley (Rhineland-Palatinate), two are still missing. 766 residents were injured, many are still traumatized.
The flood took almost everything from the residents of the Ahr – and there is still massive damage to this day.
Roads and bridges were makeshift repaired, many houses are still empty. Some of them will probably never be available again. Most of the rubble on the streets has already been cleared away. In many places there is a lack of electricity and gas.
Gas should be available by the end of November
“Of course, the quota in the flood area is different,” says Guido Orthen (55, CDU), the mayor of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler to BILD. He estimates that 20 percent of households in the urban area do not yet have heating. “According to Energieversorgung Mittelrhein, gas should be available again by the end of November,” he says. For some residents, however, the technical requirements for heat supply are lacking.
Rudolf Holze (67), a former professor of physical chemistry, is one of them. He wasn’t in his house on the night of the flood and didn’t see the damage until later: the water flowed from his basement into the living room. Not only did it ruin all of the furniture, it also destroyed the electrical box and oil heater.
“A new oil heater would be completely uneconomical for me,” says the retiree to BILD. “I want to reactivate the old gas pipes. The fitter will come in mid-December, I hope that everything will work out. “
He knows: “That will blow up my electricity bill, but I just want to stay here.”
When his fingers get too cold to continue typing, Prof. Rudolf Holze goes to warm up in the AHRche’s tent, the largest of ten support points that were created on the initiative of the residents. There, those affected receive warm food and spiritual and practical help.
These bases are now to be expanded into winter get-togethers for all residents. Game evenings, readings or coffee claps up to concerts should give the dark season a little ray of light and a glimmer of hope.
Various aid organizations will provide up to four million euros so that these meeting places can stay open until Easter. You can’t just spend the night there, although the temperatures will soon drop below zero at night.
Mayor Guido Orthen promises: “Nobody has to freeze. We have ordered 64 fully furnished tiny houses and prepared a container castle with 50 residential units for four people each. “