Lewentz defends action in flood night

Dhe Minister of the Interior of Rhineland-Palatinate Roger Lewentz (SPD) defended its behavior during the Ahr Valley disaster. In the night of July 15, he had "no complete picture of the situation"; He was told of "individual, also very depressing events", but there was "no indication" that the district of Ahrweiler was overwhelmed by the situation, Lewentz told the investigative committee for the clarification of the Ahr Valley disaster on Friday evening in Mainz. The opposition in the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament doubts this representation and accuses Lewentz of serious omissions. The CDU said before the meeting that Lewentz and his ministry had been fully informed. Instead of reacting, Lewentz ignored all indications of the impending catastrophe and the actual conditions on the Ahr.

Julian Staib

Political correspondent for Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland based in Wiesbaden.

As the committee made clear on Friday, Lewentz, his ministry and the state’s subordinate supervisory and service directorate (ADD) had a lot of information about the catastrophic situation on the Ahr during the flood night, but according to those involved, the drama of the situation was not recognized.

According to the description by David Wincek, who was on duty in the situation center of the Ministry of the Interior on the night of the flood, the information arrived there at around 5:30 p.m. on July 14 that a campsite in Dorsel had been flooded and that residents had climbed onto the roofs of their caravans rescued, helicopters with cable winches were used. The report from the situation center shows that the police headquarters in Koblenz informed the situation center at 9:22 p.m. that a campervan had been driven away, people were missing, rescue workers were unable to reach towns and houses had collapsed. At 10:55 p.m., the report came in that six houses had collapsed in Guilt, that there were missing people and that people were standing on houses and shining flashlights for help. The report was passed on to the head of the Minister's office.

No talk of "flood or even flash flood"

On the evening of July 14, at around 7:30 p.m., Lewentz visited the operations center of the district in Bad Neuenahr Ahrweiler and met with the district administrator at the time, Jürgen Pföhler (CDU) together, against whom the public prosecutor is investigating on suspicion of negligent homicide. Lewentz said of the meeting on Friday that he saw himself "surrounded by professionals"; Neither the leadership nor the staff in the operations center seemed overwhelmed, and there was "no mention at all" of "flood or even flash flood".

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