Emergency aid and recovery programme
On 21 July 2021, Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer presented details of the aid programme for the regions hit by the extreme weather. An administrative agreement was concluded between the Federal Government and the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Bavaria and Saxony on Friday so as to enable rapid financial support for those affected.
Damage repair, emergency support
The Federal Government will initially contributeup to 400 million euros to the emergency aid approved by the federal states. Every euro of regional funding will be matched with one euro of federal funding, so the combined emergency aid currently amounts to as much as 800 million euros. “We’ll do whatever is necessary to help everyone as quickly as possible,” stressed Federal Finance Minister Scholz.
“The emergency aid is primarily aimed at those who have lost all their belongings,” said Federal Minister of the Interior Seehofer. On her visits to North Rhine-Westphalia, Chancellor Merkel promised rapid support for North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate . The emergency aid is to be used to repair damage to houses as well as to agricultural and forestry facilities, including local farms. The aim is to provide swift assistance to those who find themselves in an acute emergency.
Rapid support without unnecessary bureaucracy
“We’ll do whatever is necessary to help everyone as quickly as possible,” said Scholz. To this end, federal and regional government have agreed that the federal states will organise the emergency aid independently in consultation with the municipalities affected.
There will be no central application and approval process managed through the Federal Government involving income and asset assessment. The federal states will pay out the funds quickly and unbureaucratically after consultation with the municipalities, mayors or district councils.
Federal and regional governments will coordinate closely on a regular basis, with a committee of state secretaries representing all federal ministries acting as the point of contact and coordinating body. Rapid solutions in the areas of healthcare, infrastructure and agriculture will have priority.
Recovery to start right away
In the coming months and years, the federal states affected face the enormous task of repairing the damage and organising reconstruction. Based on experience, this is likely to cost several billion euros. The Federal Government has promised it will contribute to the planned regional recovery aid to the extent necessary, as in previous flood disasters. According to Federal Finance Minister Scholz, the reconstruction of hospitals, schools and destroyed infrastructure can start immediately.
Joining forces to tackle the flood damage
Federal, state and local governments are now collaborating particularly closely. Germany is also able to count on the EU’s support for recovery. The Federal Government will apply for aid from the EU Solidarity Fund on behalf of the federal states. This can be used to cover costs for the reconstruction of important infrastructure and clean-up work, for example, as well as the protection of important cultural assets.What is more, the Federal Government will not bill the municipalities for the deployment of 8,000 helpers from the Federal Agency for Technical Relief,, the Federal Police and the Federal Armed Forces. “This is a change from how things were handled in the past and will definitely help the municipalities,” said Federal Minister of the Interior Seehofer.
The Federal Government will set about rebuilding destroyed roads, bridges, railway lines and other federally owned infrastructure as quickly as possible. Joint talks will be held between the Federal Government and the federal states on setting up safeguards to deal with events such as this flood disaster in the future.