Germany earmarks 400 million in fast-track aid for flood victims
Berlin, July 21 (EFE).- Germany’s federal and state governments have agreed to fast-trak aid worth 400 million euros to flood victims in the west of the country, in which at least 170 people have died.
A program for the reconstruction of infrastructure in the regions hit by the devastating floods will also be approved.
“Immediate aid is for people who have lost everything. It is important that it is quick and unbureaucratic,” finance minister Olaf Scholz said at a press appearance.
The states and local authorities will take over logistics of delivering aid payments to those affected by the floods, which were the worst to hit the region in decades.
Scholz added the aid would be increased if the allotted 400 million is not enough.
“We will do whatever is necessary. The citizens are not to blame for what happened, but the climate crisis. We cannot expect them to take risks individually that have been caused by the whole of mankind. That is why we also have to help in the reconstruction of the destroyed houses,” Scholz said.
A fund set up especially for companies that were badly affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus — and endowed with 1.5 billion euros — will also be opened for those hit by the floods.
The infrastructure reconstruction program, according to Scholz, will be discussed when the total damage, estimated to be at least 2 billion euro, is ascertained.
The floods occurred last week as a result of heavy and constant rainfall, which primarily affected the western states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.
Koblenz police said 155 people remain unaccounted for in the valley of the river Ahr, where most of the fatalities in Germany were recorded.