Jörg Kachelmann during his questioning in the investigation committee
Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd / dpa
According to the weather expert Jörg Kachelmann, an extreme weather event was already emerging for the southwest of North Rhine-Westphalia days before the flood disaster. On Monday, according to the weather models, it was actually known that something big was going to happen, said Kachelmann on Friday evening in the investigative committee of the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia on the flood disaster in July. He was referring to weather models and the forecast on Monday July 12th.
"The information was all there," emphasized Kachelmann in his questioning by members of the state parliament.
Why weren't people informed 24 hours in advance that something was coming that they hadn't seen yet?
"We always have enough time," emphasized Kachelmann.
If the events were to be repeated, not a single person would have to die, he emphasized.
Kachelmann had warned in a tweet on July 13th at noon that "it might be time to gradually prepare people for a flood scenario, both officially and in the media."
The first floods occurred the following night.
Hydrologist: Extreme floods predicted days in advance
According to the British expert Hannah Cloke, the European flood warning system EFAS had already given an initial indication of a possible extreme event in the Rhineland before the disaster. On July 10, 2021, EFAS forecast a flood that occurs once in 20 years with a probability of 22 percent for the Rhine basin, said the hydrology professor as a witness on Friday in the investigative committee of the NRW state parliament in Düsseldorf.
This information was still uncertain, but you should be particularly careful in such a case, she explained. That would be the time when the national competent authorities look at some additional information in order to get a clearer picture of the situation. She has no indication of how the information made available by EFAS was ultimately used by the relevant national and local authorities. EFAS partners received warnings. They could then independently access the warning system's web portal and continue working there.
"When so many people die, we have to admit that the system has failed as a whole," the expert reiterated the criticism she had already expressed, referring to the many dead. 49 people died in North Rhine-Westphalia alone. She also emphasized that this criticism does not refer to certain parts of North Rhine-Westphalia. They did not investigate how the different parts of the system worked in the case of the flood disaster in July.
The committee of inquiry in the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia came about with the votes of the opposition MPs from the SPD and the Greens.
The committee is to investigate possible omissions, omissions or misjudgments by the CDU / FDP state government and subordinate authorities in connection with the devastating flood in mid-July with 49 deaths in North Rhine-Westphalia.
In the spring of 2022, a public report on the findings available up to that point is to be submitted to the state parliament.
There are state elections in May 2022.
sol / dpa