“That dam may collapse” – Corriere.it

"That dam may collapse" - Corriere.it
Of Elena Tebano

Journey to Chase City. But now all the structural damage is beginning to show, submerged, unstable ground. More than 140 people died

From our send
Erfstad (Cologne)
We need to see if the Steinback Dam is up and running, it all depends on it. They empty it to reduce stress, but it takes time. Volkert Kramer, an experienced firefighter, went to Erfstad to help his local colleagues, who removed three houses and part of the historic fort from the hamlet of Blessem in a landslide, threatening to encircle other buildings now (I’m not seeing such a thing in 2002, he says).

It is hot, about thirty degrees, and the sun illuminating the fields and roads does not deceive anything that happened two days ago. But now all the structural damage is beginning to show, the submerged, unstable ground, Kremer explains. He looks most closely at the dam a few kilometers south of the Yuskirchen district. IYesterday morning the situation seemed to have improved, and in the afternoon, after inspections, the Cologne district administration announced that it was still moving. Firefighters pump thousands of gallons of water an hour, but they have to empty two-thirds to make it safe, and they can’t do that until 3pm today. If everything goes well. Other residents in the area were evacuated.

Meanwhile, the landslide area has been cordoned off by helicopters and several roads have been blocked, the national highway damaged and only secondary roads across the district. Authorities last night repeated the ban on residents of the hamlet of Blessem from approaching their homes: the front of the landslide is still active and very dangerous. Kramer, who is responsible for securing roads and homes, made three interventions in four hours, one to prevent a gas leak caused by a landslide and the other to evacuate a collapsing nursing home. Shortly afterwards, armored vehicles from the army pulled up broken trucks and cars abandoned on the river and got stuck under a bridge. They were empty, with no victims yesterday afternoon. The temporary floodwaters rose on Thursday In Germany alone, 141 deaths have been confirmed, including four firefighters, which seems like a miracle and everyone expects it to continue..

Federal Republican President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and North Rhine-Westphalia Minister Armin Lacet also arrived in Erfstad yesterday. Many in these areas are left with nothing but their hopes. We must not despair of this hope. Their fate brings tears to our hearts, Steinmeier said proudly in front of the rescue headquarters. Our country is together in this moment of need.

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Those at Erfstad yesterday had other priorities. Many lined up in front of the help center. My house stands, only the cellar is full. But we were without electricity and without food for three days. Nicole Cunningham, 37, said all electrical appliances were broken. Beat Rect is mainly looking for information: I’m here with my son Fabian, waiting for a kidney transplant – she explains –. We had time on Thursday to make a final visit for approval, and then they evacuated the hospital. I do not know now what happened to the documents if they were handed over to the exact authorities.

The situation is worse in many other areas. The worst affected district is Ahwheeler in the Rhineland-Palatinate region, with 98 confirmed cases yesterday (43 in North Rhine-Westphalia). The missing are still being searched for with no hope of being found alive: Police said someone was digging into buildings, mountains where vehicles were piled up, vehicles and other objects. 370 people are missing.

There is financial damage, and no one has yet tried to quantify it. In Schuld, where Angela Merkel arrives today, most homes are destroyed, and the smell of dirty mud and fuel pervades the streets. The whole city without gas, it can take months or weeks to restore. The center of the Bad Monsterpile full of torn stones. Locals say it is unrecognizable.

Not far away, in the town of Bad Nunhar, the district capital, floods destroyed vines and many residential properties. Michael Long, the owner of a wine shop in the city, says you do not recognize the landscape. They are all tourist resorts, summer destinations with spas, nature and good wine. This summer, Pandemic had to ensure the recovery of an area that had been severely tested. The flood is another heavy blow.
Meanwhile, the rain moved to East Germany in Saxony. Yesterday, the Land Water Monitoring Center warned of the possibility of flooding as some towns such as Newstad, Sebnits, Bad Shandau, Rainhordsdorf-Shina and Gohrish were no longer accessible. Up to 100 liters of water per square meter would fall. Fear of repeating the nightmare.

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July 17, 2021 (edit July 17, 2021 | 23:19)

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