Two and a half weeks after the devastating flood, the Altenahr community wrote an open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Malu Dreyer.

The troubled people on the Ahr are on the one hand overwhelmed by the private willingness to help many people, which is reflected in an impressive amount of donations as well as in the willingness to lend a hand to restore humane conditions on the Ahr.

There is still a long way to go before then. Rather, even helpers who have already seen some misery show themselves appalled by the desperation and sheer need of the people on the Ahr. In many places there is neither electricity nor running water; many economic livelihoods are in great danger, if not already ruined. The local administration would like to do more, but how is it supposed to work when there is hardly any employee left, the former administration building can no longer be used and only a landline connection located in a distant restaurant is available for making calls?

What drives the people of the Ahr to despair is the fear that the aid promised by the state might be poorly coordinated and come too late. The concern is that the already terrifying number of deaths will increase if it is not possible to combat the risk of epidemics and diseases soon and provide warm quarters with a view to the coming autumn.

It is not just the disaster on the Ahr that urgently needs to make politicians aware of the importance of better disaster control. Extreme weather events are likely to increase in the future in the so-called temperate zones and thus also in Germany. If politics does not act decisively, the threat to the people can be followed by a threat to confidence in the political system, which is not limited to a few muddled people who wanted to cause strife on the Ahr. Chancellor candidates who seem perplexed are of no help in this situation.

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