Disaster control is the responsibility of the federal states – but so that they are not overwhelmed in an emergency, the federal government helps with vehicles and special units. Much of it is only available on paper.
Berlin (dpa) – The federal government has fewer vehicles and special disaster-fighting units than expected.
For example, 1,373 vehicles are currently lacking in the supplementary disaster control system, in response to the Interior Ministry’s available to the German Press Agency to a request from the left in the Bundestag shows. This corresponds to about a quarter of the target value for 5,421 vehicles.
Supplementary Disaster Control is a legally regulated assistance service provided by the federal government for the Länder, for example in the event of fire or other disasters resulting in significant casualties. In Germany, the Länder are responsible for disaster control in peacetime; the federal government supports that.
The biggest gap is in the area of medical working groups agreed to by federal and state governments in 2007. Here, 563 vehicles are missing, or 35% of the target. No vehicles have been added since 2016. If the emergency service is overloaded, these units must be able to decontaminate the wounded, set up treatment stations and transport patients over a large area.
For vehicles used to protect against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risks, there is a 29% gap, according to the government. There were 15 latest new acquisitions in 2017.
Left-wing MP Sabine Zimmermann, who requested it, recalled the explosion in the Leverkusen tank farm and the severe flooding in the Rhineland. Serious disasters could also occur in Germany at any time. “But to protect people from disasters, federal and state governments are spending just over a thousandth of the amount Germany invests in the military and armaments,” Zimmermann said. At this rate, it will be decades before the target level is reached.