After the flood: Merkel and Laschet visit flood areas

As of: 05.09.2021 8:37 a.m.

Chancellor Merkel and NRW Prime Minister Laschet want to get an idea of ​​the situation in the areas affected by the July flood today.

July 14th, people will be in Hagen and will probably never be forgotten again in the Märkischer Kreis. Heavy rains cut entire places off from the outside world, streets and cellars are flooded, people have to be rescued, old people’s homes have to be evacuated.

Two firefighters die in action in Werdohl and Altena in the Märkisches Kreis. The damage to property is immense and many people are not insured. Even seven weeks later, the clean-up work is far from over.

Dr. Ralf Geruschkat, Managing Director of the South Westphalian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Hagen (SIHK), is pleased that the visit by Merkel and Laschet has put the focus on the heavily damaged industrial region. He wants politicians to have uncomplicated approval procedures. Because one has to rely on low-bureaucratic procedures if the old situation is not only to be restored, but also to be adapted to new requirements.

Cleaning up in the cold rolling mill in Hagen-Hohenlimburg on July 16.

Image: WDR / Lars Faulenbach

Large companies such as automotive suppliers would be asked by their customers after the delivery failures, what the risk provisions look like to ensure future deliveries. Otherwise they looked for new suppliers.

SIHK Hagen: “Reconstruction as a task of a decade”

At the SIHK, whose district includes Hagen, the Märkische Kreis and parts of the Ennepe-Ruhr district, it is assumed that 1.4 billion euros in direct damage to the companies – according to initial estimates.

Broken street in Hagen-Hohenlimburg

Image: WDR / Lars Faulenbach

“Every day there is new damage that is only now being discovered,” says Ralf Geruschkat. He describes the reconstruction as “a decade’s task” and is impressed by the way everyone involved has tackled the feat together.

Almost everywhere there are still restrictions at the companies

2,000 companies in the SIHK area were affected. “Very few are back at 100 percent,” reports Geruschkat. Two large shopping centers alone are still closed – when they will reopen cannot be foreseen. The electrics are over. Two examples out of many.

Many entrepreneurs consider whether they have enough strength to continue. “Every day I have experiences with entrepreneurs who put their perspective to the test.”

Märkischer Kreis – some streets are still affected

Grennigloher Weg in Altena after the heavy rain

Image: WDR / Claudia Roelvinck

In Altena in the Märkisches Kreis, city treasurer Stefan Kempe is assuming damage of around 60 million euros to the city’s municipal infrastructure alone.

This damage has been repaired

Image: WDR / Björn Braun

40 percent of the streets were affected by the water masses. “The acute damage has been dealt with, the municipal roads are freely accessible again,” says the city treasurer. There are still closures nationwide. Reconstruction will take years here too.


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North Rhine-Westphalia

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