More than 1800 fatalities, hundreds of thousands of refugees and 80 per cent of New Orleans flooded: Hurricane Katrina, which hit the south coast of the USA on 29 August 2005, was one of the worst natural disasters in the country's history. The German government instructed its technical relief agency, the Technisches Hilfswerk (THW), to step in, and ten days later the THW had its first heavy-duty pumps up and running in New Orleans. Six weeks later some 130 THW workers had pumped away five million cubic metres of water – enough to fill 2000 Olympic swimming pools.more: 10 years ago: THW in New Orleans with 15 large pumps after Katrina …
On Monday, it was necessary to cooperate across borders: heavy rain fall lead to the flooding of numerous cellars in Bernardvillé (Alsace, France). Afterwards, about 20 THW-experts were deployed to work with pumps and to clear the area.
Heavy rain fall and floods in Europe – the High Capacity Pumping (HCP) modules of THW are used for such scenarios. Last weekend, the emergency case was practiced in Leipzig. For the first time, the operational staff of the HCP-module from the regional office of Saxony and Thuringia came together and demonstrated their competence during an exercise.
Flooding, flooded streets and cellars, rails awash – at the weekend, low Carmen kept the west and north of Germany busy. About 50 local sections and 600 volunteers worked under intense pressure against the water volume which the low pressure area entailed.
Flooded streets, swamped cellars, saturated banks – the second time within a few weeks, the east of Germany has been drowned by floods. The south of Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt are particularly affected. For more than a week, 40 local sections of THW from seven regional offices have been fighting nonstop there, together with forces from the fire brigade, the Federal Armed Forces and the DLRG, against the body of water. The situation in the flood area is still critical. The tide level of the Schwarze Elster goes down only slowly.
More than 320 THW-volunteers spent Reunification Day in the south of Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt to fight against the body of water there. The situation is still critical. The water level of the Schwarze Elster goes down only slowly. The body of water presses against the soaked river banks; a good number of sites, which are saturated, had to be repaired.
On Saturday, serious storms swept across the west of Germany. Particularly affected were North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. In many places, streets and cellars were flooded; the Dome of Cologne was hit by lightning, and in Bonn one part of the river front broke away. At the weekend, hundreds of THW-volunteers were deployed to support the fire brigade in pump and clearance work.
The large-scale floods in Poland are decreasing; the heavy-duty pumps of THW did their work. Nevertheless, the situation in the Polish flood areas remains critical. What remains is mud and debris. The local authorities have taken over the clearing work. After several thousand working hours and more than one billion litres of water, the THW mission in Poland came to its end today.