A week after the floods that killed at least 174 people in the Rhineland, according to a new report published Wednesday, July 21, an estimate gives an idea of the scale of the disaster. We owe it to Jörg Asmussen, Managing Director of the German Federation of Insurance Companies (GDV). On Wednesday, the latter said that insured losses could reach 4 to 5 billion euros.
“Taking into account all the damage caused by precipitation, flooding or hailstorms, this year should be the most expensive since 2002 for our sector”, he added. In 2002, a year marked in particular by spectacular floods in eastern Germany, the overall amount of compensation paid to victims of bad weather was 13.9 billion euros.
For its part, the government has started to take out the checkbook. During the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, a first emergency aid of 200 million euros was adopted. Intended to secure the most damaged buildings and infrastructure, as well as to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable victims, it will be supplemented by an envelope of the same amount, financed by the Länder. “The money will be paid out quickly and in an unbureaucratic manner. And if it turns out that there is a need for more, we will give more ”, promised the Federal Minister of Finance, Olaf Scholz, specifying that this emergency plan would be followed by a reconstruction program of several billion euros.
The line of “whatever the cost”
These announcements are in line with the commitments made by Angela Merkel. “We will be by your side”, had assured the Chancellor, Sunday, in the small town of Adenau (Rhineland-Palatinate), in the heart of one of the most ravaged areas. “We will do everything to ensure that the money arrives quickly. I hope it will only be a matter of days ”, she added on Tuesday during a further trip to the region, to Bad Münstereifel (North Rhine-Westphalia).
If the expression has not been used, that is the idea: in the aid they intend to bring to the victims of the floods, the German authorities have chosen the line of “whatever the cost”. Two months before the legislative elections, scheduled for September 26, this is not surprising. For Angela Merkel, who is preparing to leave power after sixteen years in the chancellery, showing generosity is an opportunity to celebrate – in hollow – her own record: “Fortunately, Germany is a country that can cope financially”, she congratulated herself on Sunday in Adenau.
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