Was the disaster with warning level 5 declared too late?
CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP
After the flood disaster in the Ahr valley, the Kiel crisis researcher Frank Roselieb raised serious allegations against Ahrweiler's district administrator Jochen Pföhler (CDU).
Despite precise warnings, the citizens were informed too late about the dangers.
Disaster control management is part of the core function of every district chief and every mayor, according to the scientist.
"No Federal Chancellor, no Prime Minister is so well prepared to cope with such a crisis," said Roselieb of the "Rhein-Zeitung".
According to SPIEGEL information, the district of Ahrweiler was precisely warned of the flood disaster on the night of July 15, but without reacting in time.
"Many human victims could have been prevented," says Roselieb.
The researcher considers it inexplicable that the pre-alarm did not occur in the Ahrweiler district.
According to the, a pre-alarm could have been triggered in the early evening of July 14th, "in order to be able to initiate emergency measures."
This is possible, for example, if "the water levels rise and rise without anything worse having happened".
Already at 5:17 p.m. on July 14, the State Office for the Environment in Rhineland-Palatinate announced the highest warning class 5: warnings that predicted a water level of the Ahr of 5 meters - significantly more than the previous high of 3.70 meters.
The message also arrived at the Ahrweiler District Office, and the district administration set up a crisis team.
However, he only triggered the second highest alert level 4 and initially did not evacuate.
In the early evening, according to new data from the German Weather Service, the warning was temporarily defused to 4 meters, but at 9:30 p.m. it was corrected upwards to almost 7 meters.
Nevertheless, according to SPIEGEL information, the district only declared the disaster in a situation report at 11:15 p.m. and initiated evacuation measures.
District Administrator Jürgen Pföhler justifies his wait-and-see attitude with this intermittent kink in the precipitation forecasts.
State Interior Minister Roger Lewentz (SPD) announced that the processes on the evening would be "worked out exactly".
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At this time, the message was issued to evacuate the buildings 50 meters to the right and left of the Ahr.
When Pföhler appealed to the population to move to higher floors, the first houses were swept away by the masses of water.
"Nobody can say that there have never been such tidal waves in the Ahr Valley," emphasizes researcher Roselieb. "During the flood 200 years ago, the dimensions were even bigger." 100 years ago it was similar. In addition, one was warned early on. From the researcher's point of view, there is therefore no reason not to have been prepared for a tidal wave like the most recent one.