In the night of 14 to 15 July 2021, more than 180 people lost their lives, predominantly in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, while more than 800 were injured, in some cases severely. The floods swept everything away: houses, bridges, roads, schools, town halls, and churches. The destructiveness of this natural disaster reached incomprehensible proportions, and particularly in the Ahr valley, many people were caught off guard by the impact of the mass of water during the night of the flood.
Many people spent some of the most horrific hours of their lives fighting the floods, with far too many losing the struggle and being torn from their loved ones. This anniversary is about mourning and human suffering – a sense of loss that is still impossible to capture in words.
At the commemorative event in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz remembered the victims, expressed thanks for people’s outstanding solidarity and willingness to help, and particularly emphasised that the Federal Government was working towards better civil protection. As well as the main commemorative event in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, numerous events to commemorate the victims have been taking place in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia.
Federal Chancellor Scholz:
“The horrific images of the flood disaster in the Ahr valley a year ago have not been forgotten. I would like to express my thanks to the many helping hands and for the overwhelming solidarity. We want to learn from this disaster in order to take better precautions for such incidents in future and to minimise their impact more effectively. In order to guarantee this, we are working on better civil protection: citizens must receive better warnings. Flood protection must become even more effective! Climate change brings new challenges with it, which the state will face up to. Today, my thoughts are above all with the victims and their relatives, as well as all those affected by the flooding.”