In mid-July, the flood disaster in Erftstadt-Blessem near Cologne led to a huge landslide - now citizens were again worried: The persistent rainfall of the past few days caused the level of the Erft river to rise again.

This flooded a temporary dam at the level of the Blessem gravel pit.

In a nightly operation with heavy equipment and around 50 to 60 helpers, the breach in the dam was filled in by Monday morning. "It was a really big construction site with floodlights and technical aid," said Bernd Bucher, board member of the Erft Association, the German press agency. There was no danger to the residents. "Nevertheless, we didn't want to take any additional risks here, especially so as not to unnecessarily unsettle the population."

On Sunday evening, the population was informed of the situation through loudspeaker announcements by the fire brigade. This sometimes led to uncertainty. A citizen of Blessem told the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”: “Anyone who has not yet had a heart attack ...” However, the city emphasized that despite the persistent rain of the past few days and the flooding of the dam caused by it, there was no danger. The edge of the gravel pit has been well secured in recent weeks.

On the night of July 16, a landslide had occurred near the gravel pit. Several houses were swept away, creating a huge crater. Many residents suspect that the landslide is related to the gravel pit. Mayor Carolin Weitzel (CDU) has announced that independent experts from the Geological Service of North Rhine-Westphalia are investigating the cause of the erosion. The public prosecutor's office in Cologne is investigating the suspicion of building risk.

Bucher spoke out in favor of filling the crater with earth. "We think the whole thing will only calm down if we fill this whole crater," he said. Otherwise, the Erft would flow past the crater at a short distance in an elevated position, which is always a safety risk. The necessary soil can be removed from the surrounding fields. Instead of the crater, a natural retention space should then be created in which the Erft can spread out safely during floods. Such a space would have both an ecological value and a high recreational value. He hoped that this could be tackled quickly.

Keywords: