By Juliane Hein
Flooding is not unusual in Passau, the eastern Bavarian town known as ‘three river city’. The town is located at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers. It’s accustomed to rising water levels. Homeowners keep sandbags on the doorstep of their house at all times. But what happened last Sunday and Monday was unprecedented.It was a scene that the town has not witnessed since the Middle Ages. The Danube rose to nearly 13 metres (42 feet) on Monday, whereas it usually rises to 4.50 metres at this time of the year. The river Inn reached its peak of nearly 10 metres. The waters have reached the second floor of some buildings and the affected areas have had no electricity and no drinking water for days.In Passau, the water is slowly receding and the true scale of the damage is gradually coming to light just now.
I went to university in Passau and am currently working at the General Secretariat of Caritas Internationalis in Rome. To see the images of the university buildings, the street I used to live in or the little bookshop round the corner has left me gaping. Everything is destroyed because the water came so suddenly no one had time to prepare. The bookshop’s treasured books are ruined.
In the lecture room where I took my last exam, the mud is more than a metre deep. How about my house? Well, I have always been asked what would have happened if the flooding had hit my house, and I usually replied that it would be end of the world. This is exactly how I felt when I saw the news and the newsreader sitting in a boat broadcasting in front of my house.
For locals in Passau it might have actually felt like the end of the world, but I think that even the worst disasters can also show the best in human nature. Hundreds of people are coming to town to try and help clean houses and streets.
But those people also need your help. A young student from the little bar called ‘Innleben’, which he inaugurated last autumn; the Caritas kindergarten, which was completely destroyed; the residential compound of Caritas for house for the homeless is underwater.
For information about Caritas work in Germany and to assist the flood victims got to : www.caritas.de
You can donate:
Bank Account: 1230
BLZ 740 500 00
Keyword: Hochwasserhilfe 2013
Caritas house for the homeless credit/Caritas Passau
In the last few days, a mass of water hit the regions in Tyrol, Salzburg, Upper- and Lower Austria especially hard. Hundreds of people had to be evacuated, houses were destroyed, and basements are flooded.
Caritas offers support to the people in the regions affected by the flooding. “From this moment on the Caritas disaster relief fund is available for emergency aid. Additional to financial temporary measures, the people will also need human support and accompanying assistance during bureaucratic procedures,“ says Franz Küberl, Caritas Austria President.
People who have lost everything they had in the floods and families with socially weak background need to receive fast help.
“As soon as the water has hopefully regressed, it will be necessary to assist the people. They will long for comfort for all the things that have been destroyed and which cannot be repaired or bought back with money.” Küberl calls on the solidarity of the Austrian citizens.
Contact and drop-in centres: www.caritas.at
Caritas asks you for your donation for the victims of the flood via our donations account:
Erste Bank 012 34560 Sort Code 20111
PSK: 7.700.004 Sort Code 60.000
Keyword: „Katastrophenfonds Österreich“/“Disaster Relief Fund Austria“
For further inquiry please contact:
Margit Draxl, Press Officer
Caritas Austria, Albrechtskreithgasse 19 – 21, A-1160 Vienna
Tel: +43 1/48831-417, Email: email@example.com
Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has expressed the sadness of the whole Caritas family following the tragic fire at a Caritas workshop for disabled people in south western Germany.
The fire in the centre in Titisee-Neustadt left 14 people dead and many injured.
Speaking from Düsseldorf, Cardinal Rodriguez said, “The prayers of the whole global Caritas confederation are with the families of those killed in this tragic incident, and with our Caritas Germany colleagues.”
“We know the colleagues at the scene will do everything to find out the cause for this terrible event,” Caritas Germany President Peter Neher was quoted by media sources as saying. He expressed grave sadness in an official statement, “Caritas Germany grieves.”
Filed under Europe, Germany
By Christine Decker, Caritas Germany
Today, we are heading to Léogâne. On the map, it is about 40 km away from Port-au-Prince. We leave at 8:00 a.m. The trip takes roughly one and a half hours. I have seen several other disaster areas before, but even to me, this here is a terrifying sight.
The situation is horrifying in many senses. There are endless mountains of rubble and rubbish alongside the road. People have piled up the rubble from houses that were destroyed on 12 January. It now forms a mile-long central strip on the road. Here and there, you can spot the remains of people’s property: a shoe, a torn shirt, some chair legs. It’s rubbish now.
Caritas Presidents past and present
Caritas Internationalis President Number 11 Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez and President No 6 Msgr Georg Hussler had a warm meeting in Austria this week. The Cardinal was visiting Caritas European members in Austria this week. Msgr Hussler was president from 1975-1983.