WORLD NEWS

German Cabinet Approves Some $472 Million In First Flood Aid

Jul 21, 2021, 7:40 AM
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet (C) ...
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet (C) inspect the damage after heavy flooding of the river Erft caused severe destruction in the village of Bad Muenstereifel on July 20, 2021 in Euskirchen, Germany. Large parts of western Germany and central Europe were hit by flash floods in the night of 14 to 15 July, following days of continuous rain that destroyed buildings and swept away cars. The total number of victims in the flood disaster in western Germany has risen to at least 164, with many hundreds still missing. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel - Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Friedemann Vogel - Pool/Getty Images)

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a roughly 400 million-euro ($472 million) package of immediate aid for flood victims and vowed to start quickly on rebuilding devastated areas, a task that is expected to cost well into the billions.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the package, financed half by the federal government and half by Germany’s state governments, to help people deal with the immediate aftermath of last week’s flooding would increase, if more money is needed.

“We will do what is necessary to help everyone as quickly as possible,” Scholz said.

At least 171 people were killed in Germany, well over half of them in Ahrweiler county, near Bonn. when small rivers swelled quickly into raging torrents on Wednesday and Thursday following persistent downpour. Another 31 died in neighboring Belgium, bringing the death toll from floods in both countries to 202.

The deluges also destroyed or severely damaged homes. Authorities in Germany’s two affected states are responsible for details of who receives how much aid and how, but Scholz said they have indicated it will be “a very unbureaucratic process” that involves no means-testing.

“It’s necessary to send a message quickly that there is a future, that we are taking care of it together, that this is a matter for us as the whole country to help with,” he added.

Germany has recent experience with major floods that hit swaths of the country, particularly the east, in 2002 and 2013. They caused extensive and costly damage. However, the death tolls were particularly high in last week’s floods, which were the worst in living memory in the areas they hit.

Scholz said the government aid for rebuilding after the 2013 floods has totaled around 6 billion euros ($7 billion) so far and more aid might be required this time.

“There is nothing we need to delay,” he told reporters in Berlin. “The pledge we want to give now is that this help with rebuilding can begin straight away…so that everything necessary can be done to restore infrastructure, damaged houses, damaged schools, hospitals, put in order anything that was destroyed there.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a visit to a badly damaged town on Tuesday that she hopes getting money to people “is a question of days.”

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he hopes for a rough assessment of the damage by the end of the month, after which federal officials and state governors will have to meet to discuss the way forward.

He and Scholz indicated that people can expect reconstruction aid whether or not they were insured for “elementary damage” from events such as floods, which many in Germany are not, though insurance likely will be taken into account in determining details. Merkel has expressed skepticism about making such insurance obligatory, arguing that it could produce unaffordable premiums, but some other German officials advocate it.

Seehofer said there will have to be “a broad debate about safeguard systems” for the future given that natural disasters are likely to become more frequent and more destructive.

Scholz concurred, adding: “in terms of what’s going on now, we have to help. I would argue against being cynical and being heartless. This is a big disaster, we have to help and that has to be the first priority, rather than any principles.”

The head of an organization representing German insurance companies said it expects insured damage to total 4 billion to 5 billion euros ($4.7 to 5.9 billion) in the two German states that suffered the worst damage.

It will likely exceed the damage of 4.65 billion euros caused by flooding in 2002 that submerged parts of Dresden and other eastern German areas, German Insurance Association chief executive Joerg Asmussen said. That, he added, makes what happened last week “one of the most devastating storms of the recent past.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 12: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador delivers brief remarks whil...
MARIA VERZA, Associated Press

Mexico president to bypass congress to keep army in streets

Mexico's president has begun exploring plans to sidestep congress to hand formal control of the National Guard to the army.
16 hours ago
14 August 2022, Egypt, Gize: Security personnel stand at the cordoned scene where a massive fire br...
Mostafa Salem, Eyad Kourdi, Jorge Engels and Hira Humayun, CNN

18 children among dozens killed in Egypt church fire

At least 18 children were among the dozens of people known to have died after a fire broke out at a church in Giza's Imbaba neighborhood in greater Cairo on Sunday.
16 hours ago
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 15: Salman Rushdie attends the 68th National Book Awards at Cipriani ...
Associated Press

Salman Rushdie ‘on the road to recovery,’ agent says

Salman Rushdie is “on the road to recovery,” his agent confirmed Sunday, two days after the author of “The Satanic Verses” suffered serious injuries in a stabbing at a lecture in New York.
16 hours ago
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05:  Salman Rushdie attends the New York Public Library 2018 Library Lions ...
CNN

Appalled, devastated and worried. How the world is reacting to the attack on Salman Rushdie

Messages of outrage and support are pouring in from all corners of the globe after writer Salman Rushdie was stabbed at an upstate New York venue where he was due to speak Friday.
2 days ago
...
Associated Press

Roller coaster crash at German amusement park injures 34

Two roller coaster trains crashed into each other Thursday at an amusement park in southern Germany, injuring at least 34 people.
3 days ago
Travelers in the departure hall at Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, China, on Monday, ...
Jessie Yeung and Kathleen Magramo, CNN

Hong Kong suffers biggest ever population drop as exodus accelerates

Hong Kong has recorded its sharpest annual drop in population, with experts blaming the decline on strict COVID-19 control measures and a political crackdown.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
German Cabinet Approves Some $472 Million In First Flood Aid