At least 134 dead and around 9000 devastated houses in July 2021: aid organizations in the flood-damaged Ahr Valley want to collect donations and be active for years to come. "The need will be there for a very long time," said the deputy chairman of the donation shuttle association, Marc Ulrich, of the German Press Agency. "We want to continue for years to come." The founder of the Die Ahrche association, Lucas Bornschlegl, also emphasized: "We hope for donations for a long time to come." There will still be enough to do in 2024.
Voluntary helper groups that are not tied to a club are also still active in the reconstruction of the river valley, such as "Team Ballern" - christened by Dennis Büchling from Ruppichteroth in North Rhine-Westphalia. There are now many contrasts on the Ahr: "Some are already finished with houses, others have not started yet because they still lack the equity." Some would have received enough money from their insurance company or from the federal and state development fund - others not. "For example, I walked through Altenahr the other night. It's frightening, there are still many houses that are completely dark, so uninhabited," said Büchling.
The media attention for the Ahr flood and thus also the flow of donations have meanwhile decreased significantly, according to donation shuttle deputy Ulrich. "We notice the war in Ukraine." And the high inflation. At most, the flood investigation committee of the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament draws attention to the Ahr Valley.
Ulrich added that his association had received more than five million euros in donations since the flood. "More than 1000 projects have already been funded." The "Fit through the winter" campaign is currently running, with free fitness and dance courses for flood victims. For the youngest, the donation shuttle, together with Der Ahrche, had the 800 square meter indoor playground "KinderpAHRadies" set up with a pirate ship in a huge, heated tent in Ahrweiler. In Bad Neuenahr, he bought a house for people with disabilities in cooperation with the Lebenshilfe association.
In addition to coffee and cake for social interaction, the Die Ahrche association in Ahrweiler also offers individual help for flood victims. Its gymnasium is also used for school sports. There are also individual actions. In the summer of 2023, for example, Die Ahrche will coordinate the offer of a gardeners' guild with 120 honorary experts to design devastated gardens in the Ahr Valley, explained Bornschlegl.
Donation shuttle Die Ahrche