Flood disaster in North Rhine-Westphalia: Investigation committee should clarify questions

As of: 09/08/2021 2:48 p.m.

The NRW state parliament will probably set up a parliamentary committee of inquiry into the flood disaster. The Greens and the SPD want to submit a joint proposal on Thursday.

Why was the flood disaster not warned and evacuated earlier? What responsibility does the state government have? Why did Prime Minister Laschet decide against setting up a large crisis team? The Greens want to have these and over 50 other questions about dealing with the flood disaster clarified in a parliamentary committee of inquiry of the state parliament.

The Greens have found a decisive ally for their request since Wednesday. SPD faction leader Thomas Kutschaty announced on Wednesday in the state parliament that he wanted to submit a corresponding application together with the Greens. “The SPD parliamentary group decided yesterday to vote together with the Greens parliamentary group on the basis of a joint motion for the establishment of this body,” said Kutschaty on Wednesday in the state parliament.

He appealed to the CDU and FDP parliamentary groups to join the motion. “Let’s look for answers together. We owe that to the people of our country.” The AfD also submitted an application for the establishment of a committee of inquiry on Thursday.

Memorial hour and lessons from the flood

In the flood disaster in mid-July in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, around 190 people died, 49 of them in North Rhine-Westphalia. In a memorial hour on Wednesday, the state parliament and state government commemorated the victims of the flood disaster. Aids were also invited to Düsseldorf.

Following the memorial hour, Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) informed the state parliament about the lessons North Rhine-Westphalia will draw from the flood of the century. He confessed: “We have to get better for the future.” The state government would now claim to learn the right lessons for future floods, because: “The next catastrophe will come,” said Reul.

The interior minister emphasized that nobody would have foreseen the current flood disaster in this form. According to initial estimates, damage amounting to around 13 billion euros was caused in North Rhine-Westphalia alone.

Form of processing disputed

Reul was also surprised that the SPD and the Greens in North Rhine-Westphalia want to apply for a committee of inquiry, while the red-green state government in Rhineland-Palatinate, which was also affected by the flood, only set up a working group in the form of a study commission.

The CDU and FDP had also proposed such a commission for North Rhine-Westphalia, which should also develop recommendations for the future. Because the work in an investigative committee, on the other hand, is geared towards a “backward-looking search for culprits”, criticized FDP parliamentary group leader Christof Rasche.

Study Commission and Committee of Inquiry?

Green parliamentary group leader Verena Schäffer welcomed the establishment of a commission of inquiry, but only as a supplement to the committee of inquiry, not as an alternative. Minister of the Interior Reul accused them of being “indictable in terms of content” during the debate. He would shift the responsibility on to the people and communities – that would be “outrageous”, said Schäffer.

Source: wdr.de

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