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23. December 2021

Flood disaster: “It was a given that we would help”

The flooded regions needed help quickly, without red tape – the EURAWASSER Group's team travelled there straight away

EURAWASSER volunteers spent 14 days helping out

Torrents of water swept through Ahrweiler and other towns in the north of Rhineland-Palatinate and the south of North Rhine-Westphalia in the middle of July. Many regions were flooded, houses filled with water, buildings collapsed and, tragically, many people lost their lives. On top of this, supply and waste management systems stopped working – including the water and wastewater networks. As far as the EURAWASSER Group’s experts were concerned, it went without saying that they would help wherever they could. Several of its subsidiaries from across the country immediately sent teams with vacuum/cleaning vehicles and pumps to the regions impacted by the floods where they provided emergency assistance removing the water and mud from the sewer pipes and cellars. All in all, the EURAWASSER volunteers spent around a fortnight helping out.

Images that will never be forgotten

“I am a firefighter and have seen many bad things in the course of my work. But never on a scale like this,” commented Oliver Römer from EURAWASSER in Goslar, who was obviously still shocked by everything he had experienced. His colleague Ralf Zutz, an employee at EURAWASSER in Güstrow, is still clearly affected as well: “It’s practically impossible to put it into words. We saw some pretty bad things. It’ll take a while to come to terms with it.” WAL-Betrieb employee Marcus Schrade from Senftenberg agreed: “It’ll be hard to get the images out of my head.” Together with their colleagues, the three of them got down to work in Ahrweiler and the other towns with their ravaged homes and roads and badly damaged water, wastewater and electricity networks. For the most part working in twelve-hour shifts – with the suffering and distress of the flood victims in front of their eyes.

Their colleagues spent eight days travelling around Ahrweiler and the neighbouring villages in their vacuum/cleaning trucks to remove the mud, debris and refuse from the sewers.
Among them Maik Nehls from Güstrow: “So that the residents could at least start using their toilets again,” he said. The sewers were “filled to the brim. The floods had swept away the manhole covers and all the rubble had been washed into the pipes.” Even the shafts were completely blocked – and some of them even broken beyond repair.

The water experts worked late into the evening. And they didn’t stop afterwards either: WAL-Betrieb’s team in Senftenberg collected donations – organised by the works council – and handed them over to the badly affected District of Grafschaft

“I am a firefighter and have seen many bad things in the course of my work. But never on a scale like this.”

Oliver Römer, EURAWASSER Goslar

Some small successes & a big thank you

“Together with the others, we managed to unblock the sewer pipes in a village close to Ahrweiler,” Maik Nehls and his colleague Ralf Zutz were pleased to say when reporting on one of the many small successes they had achieved while working on the sewer network. It was obvious just how important the EURAWASSER team’s work had been when the weather took a turn for the worse again just a few days later. “It actually began raining again but the water was able to flow through the pipes,” commented Oliver Römer from Goslar, describing one of the many positive moments he had experienced while clearing up the devastation caused by the floods.

“It goes without saying that we’ll help out when towns face such disasters,” explained Robert Ristow, managing director of EURAWASSER. “We are so proud of our employees who selflessly travelled to the areas to help out – often pushing themselves to the point of exhaustion.” The teams often found themselves being thanked by the flood victims. Even though everyone is well aware that there is still a long way to go before the towns and villages affected will get their lives back to normal.

Ralf Zutz and Maik Nehls from EURAWASSER’s branch in Güstrow after a twelve-hour shift helping out in the flood-impacted region. They used their vacuum/cleaning truck to remove the mud and debris from the sewers in and around Ahrweiler

Image credits: image 1: Adobe Stock: tournee; image 2: © REMONDIS; image 3: © Uwe Epping; Bild 4–5: © REMONDIS


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