Ahr disaster: Millions in donations not paid out due to bureaucracy

Action “Floodwine” and Co.
Half a year after the flood disaster: millions in donations for the Ahr are stuck in the bureaucracy jungle

Four and a half million euros from the “Flutwein” fundraising campaign for the disaster victims on the Ahr have not yet reached the needy (archive image)

© Christof Strache / AFP

The “Flutwein” campaign was intended to help the victims of the Ahr disaster. Around four and a half million euros were collected for this. But those affected cannot get the money.

Six months after the flood disaster on the Ahr, those affected are receiving less support than would be possible. The payment of some aid funds is stagnating and there are problems with the quick payment of donations in particular, because for legal reasons these may not be paid to companies.

As the “Süddeutsche” and also the portal mainzund.de report, around four and a half million euros were raised by a non-profit association, which named its donation project “Flutwein”.

Ahr donations only to individuals

Bottles smeared with mud, rescued from flooded wine cellars, should give the winegrowers in the Ahr wine-growing region in Rhineland-Palatinate hope for a new beginning after the devastating floods in July. Thousands of bottles of wine produced in the region were for sale despite the adverse conditions – as they were, covered in dirt, spattered with mud and with torn labels – as symbols of the disaster. They are true one-offs.

After the flood: Presenter Fabricia Karutz visits her home

However, the money raised in this way has been lying around in the initiative’s accounts for months. The winegrowers have not received any of this so far. “A non-profit association is not allowed to provide economic aid,” says Martin Georgi, chairman of the German Fundraising Association, in an interview with the “Süddeutsche”. According to the tax code and the disaster decree of the state government of Rhineland-Palatinate, donations may not go to companies. Those affected should get up to 5,000 euros in emergency aid, but only individuals.

Criticism of long processing times

Meanwhile, criticism of the speed of disaster relief also comes from Caritas, which criticizes the long processing times for applications for flood relief. “I appeal to the responsible authorities to process the applications of the flood victims quickly,” said association president Eva Maria Welskop-Deffaa on Thursday. Donations can only be paid out when insurance sums and state funds have already been paid.

Sources: “South German”, mainzund.de, AFP


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