Flood in the Ahr valley: pressure on Lewentz increases
DThe Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of the Interior had more precise information on the night of the flood in mid-July, which made it clear that a catastrophe was taking place on the Ahr. As it became known over the weekend, the Rhineland-Palatinate police helicopter squadron, which was deployed at the request of the Interior Ministry for reconnaissance, sent an operation report to the Interior Ministry on July 15, 2021 at 0.53 a.m. This is available to the FAZ.
It says: The flooding had “dramatic effects”, in “almost all communities” along the Ahr “numerous houses were up to the roof in the water”, residents gave “SOS” signals with flashlights, due to the current it was not possible to reach the houses by boat.
The information contradicts the statements made by the Minister of the Interior Roger Lewentz (SPD), who states that he had “no complete picture of the situation” during the night, but only had information about “punctual” events. In the Ahr Valley disaster, 134 people died and more than 700 were injured. At the mouth of the Rhine, people were still drowning at around 2 a.m., although the catastrophe further up the river had been obvious hours before.
The police helicopter, for example, rose several times between 9:47 p.m. and 11:06 p.m. and flown the Ahr from the mouth of Sinzig to Schuld. It is questionable why the authorities did not warn and Lewentz did not alert the Prime Minister during the night and convene a state government crisis team. The opposition is therefore demanding Lewentz’s resignation.
It is also criticized that the videos of the police helicopter, although commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior, did not reach it at all. They remained missing for around 14 months, contrary to the specifications, they only recently reached the investigative committee for the investigation of the Ahr Valley disaster, for which the police apologized. According to the “Allgemeine Zeitung” from Mainz, the report from the helicopter also only recently arrived in the evidence files of the investigation committee; it is unclear why the Ministry of the Interior had not previously passed it on.
According to the decision to confiscate the files, the state government is obliged to submit the files in full; the management report should have been available by the end of 2021. The chairman of the CDU parliamentary group in the investigative committee, Dirk Herber, spoke of a “monstrous scandal” on Sunday. The videos and the mission report are highly relevant for the educational work.