As thousands of vehicles, and tens of thousands of volunteers, descend upon disaster-stricken Ahrweiler, the ‘Ring has become a de-facto headquarters of the relief efforts. Its prime position at the entry to the disaster zone, largely intact transport links, and backbone-connection to the Telecoms network has proven irresistible.
Currently the ‘Ring F1 paddock is being filled with hundreds of emergency vehicles from all over Germany and even Luxembourg and Holland. The German Bundeswehr (military) have also arrived in force. If anybody is prepared to rebuild 20+ river crossings fit for
an M1 Abrams HGVs and relief forces, it’s the guys and girls in the Ingenieurkorps.
Since the flood struck on Wednesday night, most of the relief was being provided by local emergency services and local people. But now, on Saturday morning, the slow-moving-but-huge Federal machine has found second-gear, and it’s still accelerating.
Yesterday the Bundeswehr were already in action, clearing paths and providing help. Today, they’re reinforcing further.
Add to those the forces of the Technisches HilfsWerk, the Feuerwehr, the Polizei and then the army of volunteers, and you can see why the ‘Ring is expected to remain closed for a while. Right now there are hundreds and hundreds of vehicles all around the GP track. Heavy machinery is arriving constantly, and dispatchers are doing their best to move the right people to the right places. Down in Adenau, traffic is backed-up as the Polizei are trying to sort the genuine volunteers from the wannabe-looters, disaster-tourists and everybody who wants a cool photo for the ‘gram.
Locally, many firms and individuals have been donating their time and equipment to help those hit by the floods. From recovery firms to racing teams, everybody has been pitching in. The collections for clothes and household items went so well that this morning many collections centres have closed to new donations!