Resources for those looking to assist flood victims in Germany

Resources for those looking to assist flood victims in Germany

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

Horrible flooding in the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia has left the entire country in a state of shock. The devastation unleashed by exceptionally heavy rainfall in mid-July has left over one hundred dead and several times that number injured. Due to the breakdown of communication systems, authorities are having a hard time knowing exactly how many persons remain unaccounted for.

U.S. military members residing in Germany have been equally horrified by the photos and footage they’ve seen of the affected areas. Military units and individuals have been actively assisting already, and countless others have expressed an eagerness to spring into action and help out in any way they can.

Given the scale of the destruction, the chance to lend a helping hand in some way will last for months on end.

One thing the authorities have asked people specifically not to do is to drive out to the hardest-hit communities. Even those with the best of intentions can hamper ongoing rescue and cleanup efforts; therefore, any on-the-spot assistance should only be part of coordinated activities.

Almost immediately following notice of the hundreds left homeless, local drives for clothing, blankets and household goods resulted in countless tons of items donated—so much so that the massive collection point set up at the Nürburgring, a famous racetrack close to the hardest-hit areas, soon reached capacity. The racetrack’s website implores the public to hold off on dropping off or mailing anything at the present time. And most, if not all, local branches of the German Red Cross are not currently accepting material donations for the flood victims.

According to the Nürburgring’s Facebook account, volunteers are still needed from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily to help with the sorting of the goods in the facility. A commenter suggests anyone planning to help out there should wear a jacket, as it is cold inside the facility.

In the event the collection drive does resume, the Red Cross Ramstein branch has posted a list of items that will be needed: clothing, footwear, blankets, sheets, towels, diapers, cosmetics and sanitary articles, diapers, household goods from dishes to cooking utensils, children’s toys and games among other items.

Stepping in to assist in the sharing of information between the U.S. military and the local community is Welcome To Rheinland-Pfalz, a program intended to help newly arrived Americans settle in to communities in which they will make their new homes. The state-sponsored initiative has been very active in posting updates about the situation in the flooded areas on its Facebook page. The site also provides information as to how one can donate money, which is particularly welcome at this time.

The U.S. military and host nation Germany have a long and proud history of coming together in times of trouble, and this tragic event is proving to be no exception.

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