There are currently no signs of relief in the flood areas in several federal states. The German Weather Service (DWD) warned of continuous rain in parts of Germany overnight, which is expected to last until Thursday night. This could worsen the situation in the affected regions. The emergency services are particularly concerned about weakened dikes. Meanwhile, the German Red Cross (DRK) is pushing for better preparation for such crises.
“We need more and better equipment for disasters in Germany,” said DRK President Gerda Hasselfeldt to the “Rheinische Post”. "The deficits are glaring, especially when it comes to material equipment." After the flood disaster in the Ahr Valley in the summer of 2021, the politically responsible people's awareness of civil protection increased. "There's not much left of it now."
Emergency services have been in constant operation in several regions for days. Lower Saxony, parts of North Rhine-Westphalia and the south of Saxony-Anhalt are particularly affected. On New Year's Eve, Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited a flood area in Lower Saxony, and a day later Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (both SPD). She promised further support.
Faeser said she was worried about the weather forecast with more rain. "That complicates the situation. Whatever we can do, we will do," said the minister. On Tuesday night, the DWD's warning situation report on the announced precipitation said: "Sometimes high amounts of rain from Lower Saxony to the Black Forest and in the eastern low mountain ranges."
Dikes are soaked
Lower Saxony's Interior Minister Daniela Behrens (SPD) spoke on Monday of a very tense situation on the dikes. “The dikes are very wet and we are very worried that we will get more rain in the next few days and that the situation will become even worse,” she said. There are currently still six districts with an exceptional situation.
According to its own information, the Technical Relief Agency (THW) had around 1,000 volunteers working nationwide at the turn of the year - primarily in Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and North Rhine-Westphalia. In the meantime, forces from around a third of all THW local associations were deployed, it said in a statement.
Volunteers are also active in Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt. In order to relieve the pressure on the Kelbra dam in Saxony-Anhalt and to create storage space for the forecast rainfall, more water will be released into the Helme River, the responsible district office said. It's about five more cubic meters of water per second. That's why there are considerations about deepening the dike breach in the Thuringian town of Mönchpfiffel-Nikolausrieth, which was enlarged to 45 meters wide in the past few days, a second time.