After the flood

The Ahr Valley is hardly recognizable after the flood. Residents and winegrowers are cleaning up with the support of many volunteers and looking ahead. Solidarity and support also come from the trade. Simon Werner was on site.

The water is now gone, and the extent of the destruction is beginning to become clear / Credit: Simon Werner
The water is now gone, and the extent of the destruction is beginning to become clear / Credit: Simon Werner

Helicopters make their circles like gigantic dragonflies, rotors humming, and the continuous roar of the generators is ringing in our ears. The electricity generated in this way is at least enough for flickering light. Everywhere there is dried mud, which is whirled up by heavy vehicles to form large clouds of dust.

No, we're not talking about a post-apocalyptic movie here, but about the flood disaster on the Ahr River. As soon as you drive into the valley, or more precisely into Heimersheim – a district of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler – you realize that suddenly everything is different. The idyll is gone. A meadow is littered with what looks like millions of bottles, beer kegs and garbage, and a VW Golf lies wedged in a hedge opposite. A boat is also lying amidst the bottles – wherever it may have come from. What remains are damaged buildings, unusable furniture and, of course, the brownish-yellow mud coating. What has also remained for the residents and winegrowers is the Rhenish cheerfulness. And so, among the dismay after the disaster, there is also the confidence and courage to face life.

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