Residents of German village tell about devastating floods

Residents of Schuld, Germany narrowly escaped with their lives as this week’s floods devastated their homes and neighborhoods. Jowharspoke to them about their experiences and the restoration work that has so far been largely led by volunteers.

Until a few days ago, Schuld was a small picturesque town in western Germany, nestled in a green valley. But precisely because of its location, it was so devastated by last week’s flooding, when a wall of mud carried houses away, leaving many buildings at risk of collapse.

Incredibly, no one in Schuld died in the floods, but many residents have lost everything and are still traumatized by what they experienced.

“My kids said to me, ‘Don’t cry.’ They were so brave,” one resident told FRANCE 24. “My daughter said: I know we’re going to die. We’re going to die together.”

‘Everything is gone. There’s nothing left,” she continued. “I tell myself, I should be glad we’re still alive… but my kids don’t have a home anymore. What shall I do now? I do not know. Not me.”

A massive clean-up operation is underway here, largely led by volunteers. Farmers from all over the region have come here with their heavy machinery to help clear the rubble. Others carry mud out of houses, bucket by bucket.

“Everyone in the farming community likes to help with the farm equipment,” a farmer told FRANCE 24. “There are people who drive 100 kilometers to get here just to help. They are all farmers here.”

It’s impossible to know how long it will take for residents of Schuld and other hard-hit areas to return to normalcy, but it’s already clear that rebuilding is a mammoth task, likely to cost several billion euros.

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