Broken houses, collapsed bridges, exhausted, stunned people. Images that have burned themselves into many minds after the flood disaster in the Ahr Valley. A year later, the stern reporter reports on “Today Important”: “Germany can’t do disasters”.

In the night from July 14th to 15th, 2021, a flood breaks over North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. More than 180 people die, and the infrastructure of entire areas is partially completely destroyed by the extreme storms. It was a catastrophe that has lost none of its horror a year later – especially for the people in the Ahr Valley, who are still building their houses today or have long since moved away. Now that the flood is celebrating, a lot is coming up again for those affected, reports stern reporter Michael Streck in the 312th episode of “Today Important”. He accompanied the people there for over a year and observed that the psychological consequences of the flood disaster in particular are immense: “The therapy centers are full, the people are not doing well,” he says.

Ahr Valley: Reconstruction is progressing soberingly slowly

Not only with the people, also in the region the traces of the flood are unmistakable. “It looks almost the same as it did a year ago. It’s still devastating indeed.” It is therefore difficult to predict how long the construction will take, reports Streck. This is frustrating for those affected, who would have thought that a year later they would be much further along. The bureaucracy also breaks the neck of the rapid reconstruction: According to Streck, the monetary and material donations arrived quickly, but the applications are still being processed. There are also big differences when it comes to insurance.

“Germany can’t do catastrophes”

Today, the stern reporter believes, people would be better warned than they were a year ago. Because after this experience, many alarm signals such as push notifications or sirens would be taken seriously. But he also says: “Germany can’t handle disasters” – also because they rarely happen here. But there is no question that something like this will happen again.

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