July 19, 2023

Two Years After Devastating Flood, ADRA Is Still Active on the Ground

Heavy rains turned rivers into torrents in Germany. There are people still affected.

Adventistische Pressedienst, and Adventist Review
ADRA employee Pierre Schweitzer (center) at the Sinzig Volunteer Fire Department in March. [Photo: ADRA Germany]

July 15 marks the second anniversary of the flood disaster in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia. In early and mid-July 2021, several bad weather fronts with heavy rain crossed large areas of Central Europe and turned small rivers into raging torrents.

In Germany, the river valleys of the Erft and Ahr rivers were particularly hard hit. At least 181 people lost their lives, 136 of them in the Ahr Valley region. Since then, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Germany has been assisting residents living in the flooded areas. The aid organization Dachzeltnomaden (Roof Tent Nomads) has recently partnered with ADRA Germany to support those efforts.

“Our help in the flood area is still needed, which is why we continue to support social institutions and initiatives,” Robert Schmidt, ADRA Germany chief financial officer, said, according to a recent press release. “Since the beginning of July, we have added the partnership of aid organization Dachzeltnomaden and thus are expanding our commitment.”

The Roof Tent Nomads organization supports flood victims in the reconstruction or — if there is no other solution — demolition of the affected houses. The organization then offers tool rentals and workers as needed.

Immediately after the flood in 2021, ADRA Germany provided emergency aid in the affected areas and assisted those who ran to help. The emergency aid was followed by long-term reconstruction, which continues to this day, ADRA Germany leaders said. In these two years, ADRA Germany has completed more than 80 projects, according to the press release.

Thanks to the support of ADRA Germany donors, there were funds available for a total of 14 million euros. Out of that amount, 11.4 million euros, or 81 percent, have already been used or are earmarked for specific projects. The remaining 2.6 million euros will be assigned to some of the applications submitted.

Disaster Risk Reduction

Because such storms are likely to increase with climate change, ADRA Germany is focusing on disaster preparedness with the volunteer fire brigades in Dernau, Schuld, and Sinzig, leaders said. With funds from donations, a quad bike was purchased, which will bring help to hard-to-reach places.

With the goal of responding to similar emergencies more effectively, fire brigades have received weatherproof uniforms, tools, and mobile flood pumps. The Sinzig Volunteer Fire Department has already successfully used the new material during a heavy rain event in June 2022, according to ADRA.

About ADRA Germany

ADRA Germany is part of a global network with 118 independent country offices and around 7,500 full-time employees. ADRA Germany was founded in 1987 as an independent non-governmental organization by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and carries out projects in development cooperation and humanitarian aid. The German office, with around 50 employees, is located in Weiterstadt, near Darmstadt.

The original version of this story was posted by the Adventistische Pressedienst.