German town needs help weeks after deadly floods

Flood victims in western town of Stolberg still struggling to clean up damage, rebuild their properties.

German town needs help weeks after deadly floods

Germany’s flood-hit regions are still trying to clean up the damage and rebuild, as residents are calling on authorities to do more to help flood victims.

In the western town of Stolberg, which has a higher share of people with migrant backgrounds, many houses and shops remain without gas and electricity more than six weeks after the devastating floods.

Murat Yurtsever, an bakery owner in the town center, said he has lost almost everything as the flood water damaged all electronic devices and appliances in his shop.

“We have managed to save our lives by moving to the upper floors on that night,” he told Anadolu Agency, adding that his family and friends did not have time to move furniture and other essential items due to the sudden rise of water.

He criticized authorities for neglecting flood victims, leaving them alone in difficult conditions.

“So far the state only offered €5,000 help for each shop owner, nothing more at the moment,” he said.

Around 400 shops in the town center were seriously affected by the flooding with damages estimated to be around several million euros.

Some of the streets of Stolberg are still filled with waste and building rubble, and piles of garbage are floating in the Vichtbach River.

The severe floods in mid-July claimed more than 180 lives and caused widespread devastation in Germany’s western states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.

German politicians and local authorities faced criticism after reports revealed that they were too late in issuing warnings although the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) earlier alerted them about possible extreme floods.

Hüseyin Demir