Federal government wants to decide on emergency aid | free press

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Berlin (DPA) – A week after the flood disaster began, the federal government plans to launch multi-million dollar emergency aid next Wednesday. This is intended to eliminate the worst damage to buildings and communal infrastructure and to bridge special calamities.

In total, this concerns about 400 million euros, half of which is borne by the federal and state governments. A multi-billion dollar building fund is also planned. A decision about the amount should only be made when the extent of the damage can be better understood.

Merkel: Offer unbureaucratic support

The disaster, which now has more than 170 fatalities, is a topic in the Federal Cabinet for the first time. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) have already promised unbureaucratic aid to flood victims. “I hope it’s a matter of days,” Merkel said during a visit to Bad Münstereifel, which has been badly damaged. Finance Minister Scholz promised in the “Rheinische Post”: “The federal government will do everything it can to support all those affected quickly and as unbureaucratically as possible.”

According to Prime Minister Armin Laschet, North Rhine-Westphalia will provide 200 million euros. The federal government had promised to double state aid, the CDU/CSU candidate for chancellor told the ZDF “heute journal” on Tuesday evening. Some municipalities have already started paying out cash. Rhineland-Palatinate had previously decided on emergency aid of up to 3,500 euros per household. Bavaria wants to make 50 million euros available for victims of flooding in the Free State.

Debate over SMS alerts

Chancellor-candidate Annalena Baerbock also spoke out in the RTL/ntv broadcast “Frühstart” for an early payment of the support. So that those affected “do not have to wait for months”, there should be a special session of the Bundestag. FDP leader Christian Lindner called in the newspapers of the Funke media group for a construction fund in the billions after the flood disaster in 2013.

There is now also discussion about whether the population can be better protected with SMS alerts on mobile phones. FDP deputy faction leader Stephan Thomae told Bild newspaper: “We need a passive civil protection system that also warns without having to actively download an app.” In other countries, a system called cell broadcast is used for this. The left-wing MP Anke Domscheit-Berg spoke out in the editorial network Germany (RND) for the rapid introduction in Germany.

The federal government wants to relieve the federal states

The federal government also wants to exempt states from the costs of rescue operations by the federal police, the technical assistance organization (THW) and the civil defense. They should also not be billed for Bundeswehr missions. In order to cope with the damage, money from the EU Solidarity Fund must also be requested. The federal government currently expects damage of at least two billion euros to the roads alone and to Deutsche Bahn.

The government also wants to adopt the first part of a new civil protection strategy. First of all, a “National Health Protection Reserve” should be established. However, in the medium term, facilities for crises such as floods and major fires need to be improved. A joint federal and state crisis center is planned, which will also involve aid agencies.

Prevent bankruptcies

The trustees had also called for the bankruptcy obligation to be suspended in order to relieve companies of the burden. Right-wing SPD politician Johannes Fechner emphasized that many companies had great difficulty returning to normal quickly due to the flooding. “If people have lost their possessions in the flood plains, they don’t have to worry about their jobs.”

Meanwhile, city council chairman Burkhard Jung warned of a centralization of disaster management powers. “We warn against hasty quick shots. The federal structure with the different roles of federal, state and local authorities remains correct, because disasters happen locally and must be dealt with quickly,” said Jung of the Rheinische Post.