Germany approves 200-million-euro relief fund for flood victims
Angela Merkel’s cabinet has approved an emergency relief package to help rebuild regions in Germany devastated by floods - and ensure they are better-protected in future.
Germany pledges financial aid to flood victims
A week after the worst flood disaster in decades first hit regions in Germany, killing at least 170 people, the federal government met on Wednesday to launch a 200-million-euro package of emergency financial aid for demolished homes, businesses and infrastructure.
In total, the initial package amounts to some 400 million euros, German news agency dpa reports. Half will come from the federal government and the other half from the federal states. In the future, a second, much larger, package is planned, to help rebuild essential infrastructure like roads, bridges and railways.
The exact amount will be announced when the extent of the damage can be assessed more precisely, but is expected to total at least two billion euros. The relief will come from both federal and regional governments, but Germany is also considering requesting money from the EU Solidarity Fund.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz have already promised flood victims that help will come as quickly and unbureaucratically as possible. “I hope that it will be a matter of days,” Merkel said on Tuesday during a visit to Bad Münstereifel.
The state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, has already said that his government will provide 200 million euros in aid. Previously, Rhineland-Palatinate pledged assistance in the form of up to 3.500 euros per affected household. Bavaria wants to make available 50 million euros for flood victims in the southern state.
Flooding death toll rose to 170 on Tuesday
At least 170 people are now confirmed to have died in the floods, including 122 people in Rhineland-Palatinate, 48 in North Rhine-Westphalia, and one in Bavaria. At least 31 people also died in Belgium.
The vice president of Germany’s Technical Relief Organisation (THW), Sabine Lackner, told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland on Wednesday that she now sees little chance of finding survivors. “We are currently still looking for missing people, for example when clearing roads or pumping out cellars,” she said. “However, by now it is unfortunately very likely that we will only be able to recover victims, not rescue them.”