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‘Solidarity in crisis’: Financial aid pours in for German flood victims

After catastrophic flash floods submerged numerous villages and valleys in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, the state government has set up an emergency aid fund for those affected, while football organisations have also made donations.

'Solidarity in crisis': Financial aid pours in for German flood victims
A mountain of destroyed furniture lies in the sodden streets on July 16th after the Kyll River broke its banks. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Harald Tittel

In a press release announcing the new donations account, state premier Malu Dreyer said the state had experienced a wave of solidarity and helpfulness in the wake of the natural disaster.

READ ALSO: LATEST: More than 100 dead after flood disaster in western Germany

“This national catastrophe shows once again that Rhineland-Palatinate stands together in these difficult times. That makes me incredibly proud,” she said.

“We are currently receiving numerous inquiries as to how people affected by the storm in Rhineland-Palatinate can be supported,” state minister of the interior Roger Lewentz and state minister of finance Doris Ahnen said on Friday.  

“This shows that the population is really willing to help.”

The donations pot was set up by the State Ministry of the Interior at Sparkasse Mainz.

Donations can be made using the keyword “Katastrophenhilfe Hochwasser” (Disaster Aid Flood). Bank details for the account can be found in the state press release.

Football organisations raise €3m for flood victims

The German Football League and the German Football Association have also promised financial aid to the victims of the flood disaster in western Germany.

In a joint announcement on Friday, the organisations want to set up an aid fund with three million euros.


Residents of a flood-hit town try to clear the mud from gardens and streets on Friday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Harald Tittel

“The images of the floods and devastation, the full extent of this catastrophe, leave us affected and appalled,” said a joint statement. “Our thoughts go with the relatives of the deceased, the injured and the many people in need.”

READ ALSO: Why have so many died in the German floods?

The money will not be able to alleviate human suffering, they said.

“But we hope to be able to provide support together at least in some areas. In this crisis situation, solidarity is a given.”

In addition, the DFB has also contacted the European Football Union UEFA, which has also agreed to support.

Government will do ‘everything in its power’ to offer support 

In the wake of the disaster, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) promised unmitigated support at all governmental levels for those who had been affected by the floods.

“You can trust that every part of our state – from the federal, state and local governments – will do everything possible to save lives, avert dangers and alleviate hardship, even under the most difficult of conditions,” she said in a press conference on Thursday. 

READ ALSO: Merkel pledges ‘full support’ to flood victims during White House visit

Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer (CSU) and Minister for Agriculture Julia Klöckner (CDU) have both said that those who have lost their belongings in the flood will be given financial aid quickly and unbureaucratically.

“These are great tragedies, they can hardly be put into words,” explained Klöckner, who is also the CDU chairwoman for Rhineland-Palatinate. “The federal government will be at the side of those affected with all the means at its disposal.”

Having returned from a diplomatic visit to the United States, Merkel is said to be in discussions about visiting the flood-hit areas in the coming days.

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WILDFIRES

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.

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