Where the Sahrbach makes a gentle curve, there is a house that is missing walls and a few floors.

Furniture and cables stick out.

In one room the television is still hanging on the wall, everything else is gone.

The flood tore it away as well as the floors and walls;

In front of the house she dug a deep path in the ground.

A little further down there are cars hanging in the bushes.

Julian Staib

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

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The Sahrbach is actually a small brook. At normal times, maybe 30 to 40 centimeters deep and a maximum of one and a half meters wide, in summer it is often no longer there. Last week, however, the stream swelled to a level of five to six meters in a short time. According to the residents, the most devastating were the waves that formed when the water was dammed - and this natural dam then ruptured. In the village there is always talk of a tidal wave, even a "tsunami".

Earlier than down on the Ahr, this wave of brown water tore everything in its way with it and shot further down the valley with deadly force.

On the way, countless other, actually tiny, tributaries were added, they made the tides rise higher and higher down on the Ahr.

Anyone who sees the devastation up in the small valleys understands even more why many people down in the Ahr valley didn't have a chance.

"The valley was a lake"

Altenburg, a district of Altenahr, is where the Sahrbach flows into the Ahr in the valley below.

It was completely flooded.

Many houses collapsed.

A campsite a little further up in the Sahrtal was also devastated.

A large part of the caravans and bungalows were driven away and smashed in the valley, says the operator Ute Vaßmer.

A man saw his wife drifting away in the trailer.

You will be missing as well as two other people who were on site.

“The little stream has become a disaster,” says Vaßmer.

“The valley was a lake.” Now there is a smell of decay in the area, possibly cows that have been driven away.

The scene resembles a mixture of “bombing and tornado”.

In the district of Ahrweiler, the number of deaths is now 125, at least 764 people were injured in the disaster.

More than 155 people are still missing.

But there is little hope of finding her alive.

Cars that the water carried with it are also scattered up in Kirchsahr, and here too many of the houses are badly damaged, and some will have to be torn down.

Like probably Wilfried Pfaffenholz's house, where walls and floors are missing.

He had lived there for 61 years.

There has never been a drop of water in the cellar, he says.

On Wednesday evening last week, the water was already up behind the house in the courtyard. He tried to seal the gate with carpets. When the water came out of the house and he saw that a wall was missing, he gave up. “We were run over,” says Pfaffenholz.

According to several residents, a siren went on in the village, but it was too late by then. The flood was massive within half an hour. No, says Pfaffenholz, the authorities did not fail to warn. One could not have foreseen that the masses of water would overrun everything. "No accusations, nobody expected," says another man, whose inn may now have to be demolished. “People weren't left in the lurch,” says a woman who tore off half of the front of the house. "There were enough warnings."