Ahrweiler – Thank god you live!
I hug my grandmother Elisabeth (81) tightly. She was missing for two endless days! After the flood in her house had risen to the roof, contact with her and my grandfather Franz (88) was broken.
My grandparents live in Dernau in Rhineland-Palatinate, my home town. Almost 1900 inhabitants, vineyards, the Ahr flows through the village. Actually an idyll.
But on Wednesday evening the flood comes, destroying whole parts of Dernau with a tidal wave. More and more water is also entering my grandparents’ house. My grandpa calls my parents worried and asks: “Could you call the fire brigade?” My father advises him to go to the attic – then the telephone network breaks down.
What happened? Days of hope and fear begin for me
On Thursday I phone my parents, who fortunately live on a hill in Dernau that the water cannot reach. My father says, “We were able to see your grandparents with binoculars on the balcony. They are alive! ”But grandma and grandpa are locked in by the water.
On Friday a call from my mother: “We can no longer see your grandparents and we do not know whether they are alive. Maybe they didn’t make it. “
That can not be! Or? I can’t stand it any longer, take the next plane from Berlin to Frankfurt, take the train to Cologne, and from there by car to the flood zone as quickly as possible.
The closer I get to my home, the more I realize the extent of the catastrophe: The places of my childhood, shops, elementary school, ice cream parlor – everything has been destroyed by the water!
On Saturday comes the redeeming news: A helicopter rescued my grandparents from their balcony. They spent the night with over 100 other flood victims in an emergency shelter – which used to belong to the Haribo candy group.
I can finally hug my grandparents again! “I’m so happy to see you again,” says my grandma bravely. And only me!