It had been raining for days. Four days before the water level rose further, the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) sent out the first warnings. These became more specific and precise by the hour. Neither the responsible agencies nor the media responded to the warnings. The flood claimed 180 lives and left behind enormous suffering and immense damage to infrastructure.
Countless times I drove through the Ahr valley to visit my parents-in-law. The Eifel became my second home. Now you pass through almost untouched areas until you reach the places where the flood had reached. The transition from untouched landscape to chaos is abrupt and exceeds any usual dimension: Houses washed away, black holes from windows and doors foreshadow the force with which the flood advanced.
Brown areas with distinct lines mark the highest water level. Residents haul baskets of silt-covered inventory out of homes. "The Limits to Growth" by the Club of Rome predicted a critical progression of the world as early as 1972. In August 2021, the sixth assessment report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was published: the influence of humans on the climate system is clear. The more we disrupt the climate, the more severe and irreversible consequences we risk. We have been warned.