Berlin (dpa) – By warning the population of disasters, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is calling for clearer guidelines and uniform rules.
It is important that in the event of a damaging event of the highest level of danger “a warning be sounded for the population and not only can,” said the CSU politician after a special meeting of the Bundestag Home Affairs Committee on the Consequences of the Severe Weather Disaster in Western Germany.
In addition, sirens should again be available everywhere to alert the population, demanded Seehofer. The fight against disasters in peacetime falls within the competence of the Länder and the municipalities. However, even before the flood of July 14, the federal government had launched a program to finance sirens in the amount of 88 million euros. He assumes that amount won’t be enough, Seehofer said.
Siren financing program amounting to 88 million euros
After heavy rains, several towns in western Germany were flooded on the evening of July 14. 183 people died. Most of the victims were in the Ahr valley.
National politician André Hahn (left) said some countries want a new warning tone, others rely on sirens, which can also warn by announcement. There were no clear guidelines here. “I think if the federal government gives money, then there has to be uniform equipment.”
Home Affairs Committee Chairman Andrea Lindholz (CSU) said: “This flood disaster should not have had these fatal consequences.” A national consensus among the federal government, states, municipalities and aid organizations is needed to modernize federal emergency preparedness. “Reliable disaster control doesn’t have to be a postcode issue. “
The interior ministers of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate see a need for improvement in the warning. Even after the experience of the disaster in July, they do not want to undermine the principle that the situation of local communities is assessed in the event of a disaster.
Home Secretary Lewentz in criticism
Rhineland-Palatinate Interior Minister Roger Lewentz gave no specific information about his own role during the July 14 storm. According to the information provided by the participants in the meeting, the politician of the SPD raised a possible investigation into the events in the parliament of the Land of Rhineland-Palatinate and the ongoing investigations of the prosecution.
The Koblenz public prosecutor’s office is investigating district administrator Jürgen Pföhler (CDU) and another member of the crisis team. The disaster alarm was reportedly sounded very late in the district of Ahrweiler.
For scheduling reasons, Lewentz and his colleague from North Rhine-Westphalia, Herbert Reul (CDU), were connected to the special session by video. According to the participants, Reul said that among other things, there was a need to improve the networking of flood protection and disaster control, as well as the involvement of civil aid workers.
Increase in extreme weather events in Germany
FDP parliamentary group home policy spokesman Konstantin Kuhle was disappointed with the results of the meeting. He said: “In view of the high number of deaths and the increase in extreme weather events in Germany, the federal and state governments should no longer oppose a fundamental reflection on the federal division of labor on the issue of the fight against disasters. “