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‘Solidarity in crisis’: Financial aid pours in for German flood victims

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In a press release announcing the new donations account, state premier Malu Dreyer said the state had experienced a wave of solidarity and helpfulness in the wake of the natural disaster.

READ ALSO: LATEST: More than 100 dead after flood disaster in western Germany

“This national catastrophe shows once again that Rhineland-Palatinate stands together in these difficult times. That makes me incredibly proud,” she said.

“We are currently receiving numerous inquiries as to how people affected by the storm in Rhineland-Palatinate can be supported,” state minister of the interior Roger Lewentz and state minister of finance Doris Ahnen said on Friday.  

“This shows that the population is really willing to help.”

The donations pot was set up by the State Ministry of the Interior at Sparkasse Mainz.

Donations can be made using the keyword “Katastrophenhilfe Hochwasser” (Disaster Aid Flood). Bank details for the account can be found in the state press release.

Football organisations raise €3m for flood victims

The German Football League and the German Football Association have also promised financial aid to the victims of the flood disaster in western Germany.

In a joint announcement on Friday, the organisations want to set up an aid fund with three million euros.


Residents of a flood-hit town try to clear the mud from gardens and streets on Friday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Harald Tittel

“The images of the floods and devastation, the full extent of this catastrophe, leave us affected and appalled,” said a joint statement. “Our thoughts go with the relatives of the deceased, the injured and the many people in need.”

READ ALSO: Why have so many died in the German floods?

The money will not be able to alleviate human suffering, they said.

“But we hope to be able to provide support together at least in some areas. In this crisis situation, solidarity is a given.”

In addition, the DFB has also contacted the European Football Union UEFA, which has also agreed to support.

Government will do ‘everything in its power’ to offer support 

In the wake of the disaster, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) promised unmitigated support at all governmental levels for those who had been affected by the floods.

“You can trust that every part of our state – from the federal, state and local governments – will do everything possible to save lives, avert dangers and alleviate hardship, even under the most difficult of conditions,” she said in a press conference on Thursday. 

READ ALSO: Merkel pledges ‘full support’ to flood victims during White House visit

Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer (CSU) and Minister for Agriculture Julia Klöckner (CDU) have both said that those who have lost their belongings in the flood will be given financial aid quickly and unbureaucratically.

“These are great tragedies, they can hardly be put into words,” explained Klöckner, who is also the CDU chairwoman for Rhineland-Palatinate. “The federal government will be at the side of those affected with all the means at its disposal.”

Having returned from a diplomatic visit to the United States, Merkel is said to be in discussions about visiting the flood-hit areas in the coming days.



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Germany’s flood zones spared severe storms on Saturday

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In the west of the country, the fire brigade reported a quiet night in the flood areas in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine Westphalia.

The situation remains tense, however, with local thunderstorms forecast in some parts of Germany from midday on Sunday — most likely south of the Danube.

Further heavy rain and hail were also possible again, according to the German Weather Service (DWD), which publishes storm warnings.

READ ALSO: WEATHER: German flood zones at risk of further storms

The latest storms came just days after parts of the country were hit by devastating floods after torrential rains that ravaged entire villages and left 180 people dead, hundreds injured and with many still missing.

The flooding also caused damage in Belgium, where 37 people died, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.



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Prosecutors allege R Kelly had sexual contact with under-age boy

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US prosecutors in R Kelly’s sex trafficking case say he had sexual contact with an under-age boy in addition to girls, and the government wants jurors in his upcoming sex-trafficking trial to hear those claims.

Federal prosecutors aired a wide-ranging raft of additional allegations – but not new charges – against the R&B singer in a court filing on Friday.

Jury selection is due to start August 9th in a New York federal court for Kelly, who denies ever abusing anyone.

The Grammy Award-winning singer is charged with leading what prosecutors call a criminal enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who allegedly helped him to recruit women and girls for sex and pornography and to exercise control over them.

The charges involve six different women and girls, who are not named in court filings.

Now, prosecutors would also like jurors to hear about more than a dozen other people whom the government alleges that Kelly sexually or physically abused, threatened or otherwise mistreated.

Among them, the government says, was a 17-year-old boy and aspiring musician whom Kelly met at a McDonald’s in December 2006 and later invited to his Chicago studio.

According to the prosecutors’ court filing, after asking the boy what he would do to make it in the music business, Kelly propositioned and had sexual contact with him while he was still under-age.

And when Kelly was about to go on trial on child pornography charges in Chicago in 2008, the same youth told the singer he had access to a juror, and Kelly asked him to contact the juror and vouch he was a “good guy”, prosecutors wrote.

The filing does not say whether the youth did so. Kelly was acquitted in that case.

The boy also introduced Kelly to a 16- or 17-year-old male friend, with whom prosecutors say the singer began a sexual relationship several years later.

Kelly also filmed the two youths in sexual encounters with other people, including some of Kelly’s girlfriends, according to the filing.

Prosecutors wrote that the accounts of the boys and others would help show that the actual charges “were not isolated events and were part of a larger pattern”.

The multiplatinum-selling singer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is known for work including the 1996 hit I Believe I Can Fly and the cult classic Trapped In The Closet, a multi-part tale of sexual betrayal and intrigue.

Kelly’s private life has drawn scrutiny since the 1990s, and he currently is also facing sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota. He has pleaded not guilty.– AP

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Fears mount in western Germany as fresh rain falls

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For some areas, the German Weather Service has forecast heavy showers or storms, bringing between 30 and 40 litres per square metre.

Amid further rainfall on Saturday afternoon, evacuation services to emergency accommodation were offered to communities in Rheinland-Palatinate who had been particularly badly affected by the flooding, German news site Merkur reported.

“The people will have to make the decision themselves,” said Begona Hermann, head of the relief teams in the west German state, explaining that the forecast rainfall was not expected to be as severe as that which devastated parts of Germany last week.  

READ ALSO: German floods death toll hits 180, with 150 still missing

However, even lower levels of rainfall could still be a problem because sewage and drainage systems were not working properly because of the flooding.

Earlier on Saturday, police requested all volunteers working on the clean-up operation in the Ahr area to leave as quickly as possible for their own safety because of the difficult conditions.

This came after the police and the crisis management team asked the public not to travel to Rhineland-Palatinate to help out because there were too many people there.

“The population’s willingness to help continues to be undiminished and overwhelming,” read a Kassel police statement on Saturday. Due to the large number of volunteers who came to help out, however, roads in the area are now congested, it said.

Heavy machinery required for road and bridge construction, and for the restoration of the area’s water supply, was getting stuck in traffic jams, the press release said.

Vehicles for removing rubbish and construction debris, as well as emergency and rescue vehicles, were also unable to get through.



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