The water in the house of Rudolf Entrup and his wife Manuela (55) from Sinzig (Rhineland-Palatinate) was almost up to the ceiling.
“Everything that was in those 2.50 meters is gone. The flood took everything from us in an hour and a half, ”says the 60-year-old.
Politics promised help and money. But so far there has only been real help from the many volunteers: “I am very disappointed in my country because we basically received no help at all,” said the 60-year-old. “Instead, volunteers from all over Germany lend a hand who don’t even want travel expenses. That’s overwhelming. That is the help that we would have expected from the federal government! ”
More than eight weeks after the devastating flood disaster, the situation of the victims is still dire and hopeless. Autumn and winter are getting closer and closer. The desperation of those affected grows day by day …
BILD is on site, listens, helps. The BILD office in the Eifelstube in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler will open on Tuesday. What was formerly the breakfast room of the restaurant is now to become a point of contact for those who otherwise would not be heard.
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Sinzig is the city in which a dozen people died in an institution for the disabled: “I heard people screaming from the bedroom window,” says Rudolf Entrup, visibly taken away. At that point, he had no idea what tragedy was unfolding.
In contrast to this catastrophe, Entrup got off lightly. Yet his bourgeois existence is at stake – no more and no less.
The forklift driver does not have elementary insurance – he estimates his damage at around 150,000 euros. “We have some reserves and then we have to watch, probably take out a loan,” says Rudolf Entrup. So far, Entrup has received almost 3,000 euros in financial support: “From the city 450 euros, from the Protestant Diakonie 500 euros, from the country 2000.” A drop in the ocean …
At least as bad is the prevailing ignorance: “What information comes is sparse. The government is sitting out the flood disaster. Now and then someone is on site to see where it has been swept and where it is nice and clean. For this purpose, helpers who are there privately are sent away, instead the Bundeswehr and THW present themselves. But they don’t care what comes next. “
The people of Sinzig are therefore deeply grateful to the up to 600 volunteers who make a pilgrimage to the Ahr Valley every week (more than 1000 on the weekend) to help the victims of the devastating flood disaster with renovation, demolition and reconstruction. The flood heroes are organized by the “Helfer-Shuttle”, a private initiative of Ahrtaler entrepreneurs.
The helpers come from all over Germany and abroad – from doctors to office workers. Some help on a daily basis, others for entire weeks. Sleep, eat and sit together in the evenings in the helper village, around 100 people camp in the county every night.
As part of the initiative, the volunteers have so far actively tackled everything from Sinzig to Schuld, completing work orders in the almost five-digit range. But there are still major challenges ahead. Professional soldier Jürgen Gehring from the organization team: “Autumn is coming, without heating it can be a problem. In addition, many affected people are still ashamed to accept help. ”
“For our helpers, ours AHRstronauts, it is always a trip to a hostile planet, ”says Gehring. Every day the helpers experience fates that do not leave even the toughest guys indifferent: “It is important that you are caught here with us, that you can talk about it, and that you can hug each other,” says Gehring. That is why an emergency pastoral care is also represented in the team.
Sinzig’s flood helpers
▶︎ “We are celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary here. It’s the best we’ve had so far. To help, people’s smiles and their gratitude are our greatest gift, ”say Hilke (50) and Maik Wittrock (51) from Bremen. “For this we got up at three o’clock tonight, drove four hours and have been on duty ever since. We took an extra vacation. “
▶ ︎ Barbara Hammer (66), pensioner, housewife and mother from Waldenburg: “I grew up at home with our door always open. Help is a matter of course for me. ”Barbara even got her feet sore in her rubber boots when she helped.
“We only met here and are now buddies. We camp here in a tent. The cohesion is huge ”, say the helpers Kay (31) and Etienne (29). The two men have been there for days, giving everything for the victims of the disaster.