A month has passed since the floods in Western Germany killed 187 residents and destroyed its towns and businesses.
As residents get ready for rebuilding, construction workers have arrived after rescue teams have left.
Local politicians say there’s over $30 billion worth of damage.
Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Tuesday a similar recovery cost after a meeting with the 16 state leaders of Germany.
Residents believing the recovery is hard welcomed the federal relief funding announcement.
At the moment, thousands of homes and workplaces are still out of electricity and water.
Moreover, local services like childcare are critically affected.
Several residents remain reliant on the German Red Cross for hot meals.
Additionally, charities say volunteers serve over 10,000 meals daily.
Zouheir Tak from Ahrweiler, among other thousands, lost everything.
In minutes, meter-high water from the Ahr River filled the ground floor of his cafe.
“I built this business up by myself over many years, and everything was gone in one single day,” he said.
Tak is trying his best to rebuild his livelihood.
Spending eight hours daily, he removes moist wood and moldy tiles from the cafe.
He said the repair cost and losses are likely $100,000 and over a year of work.
Even though 20 residents were missing and families separated, community members provided the utmost help.
Residents could receive important supply donations from Germany and Europe.
“People are now living like they were 60 years ago,” said volunteer Anna von Wolf.
Where is the Government?
Now that the water is receding and cleaning operations are manageable, dissatisfied residents want answers.
Several asked why the government didn’t warn them of the possibly fatal rainfall, despite warnings from the weather agency.
Others are afraid of future storms and their effect on the rebuilds.
Regional mayors have urged the nomination of a federal rebuilding ombudsman.
The Ombudsman’s role is to organize efforts between regions so that cities can get back to normal quickly.
Two men competing for Germany’s next chancellor visited the flooded area together in early August.
Merkel’s nominee for the job, Armin Laschet, promised aid of billions.
Laschet is in charge of the North Rhine-Westphalia state.
“These risks will still exist in the years to come.” He said
He highlighted, rebuilding public infrastructure and businesses must be flood-tolerant.
Residents are now rethinking their relationship with the attractive landscape they have long called home.
Moreover, residents are doubtful about the safety of living here, with increasing danger from climate change.