Chancellor Merkel has visited the North Rhine-Westphalia disaster area. She visited the town of Bad Münstereifel, where she talked to residents and emergency workers.
She promised at a press conference that the German government investigates the improvement of the disaster warning system. People in affected areas would have been warned too late through the SMS system. “The good old siren may be more useful than we thought,” says Merkel.
She also promised more money for reconstruction than previous floods and wants to make sure people get it faster. “I hope this is a matter of days,” she said.
Armin Laschet, State Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia and party leader of the CDU governing party in the September elections, went to Bad Münstereifel. He warned that “we have to accept that this is more and more common in the coming years”. He therefore advocated a comprehensive programme to adapt rivers to the impacts of climate change.
Laschet also acknowledged that the cleaning and repair work is sometimes hampered by bureaucracy. “In Germany, we‘re perfect, but we’re also perfect in bureaucracy.”
On Sunday, Merkel visited areas in Rhineland-Palatinate that were severely affected by the weather and floods last week. At least 121 people died there, in North Rhine-Westphalia 48, and more than a hundred people are still missing.
Reporter Henrik-Willem Hofs drove the car through the Ahr Valley yesterday, just east of Bad Münstereifel. He saw miles of miles of devastation: