Former Rhineland-Palatinate Environment Minister Anne Spiegel (Greens) told the state parliament’s inquiry committee into the flood disaster that helping those affected in the Ahr Valley was of utmost importance to her.
“It is absolutely wrong and I strongly reject the fact that at some point I had a different priority,” Spiegel said Friday at the Mainz state parliament of media reports of an SMS exchange with employees. She was later accused of having cared solely for her political image in light of the disaster on July 14, 2021.
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“Yes, there was this SMS, and there was also my reply,” said Spiegel, who is now Federal Minister for Family Affairs. But it was very important to her that these were just two of the thousands of messages the next day. She wanted to reply to her employee briefly, without anything coming out afterwards.
“All the activities and countless phone calls were just about how we can help and support the local population,” Spiegel said. So he organized a crisis team in his ministry and took charge of the drinking water supply in the Ahr valley.
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“The ministry is not part of the information chain,” Spiegel said on the night of the disaster. “But as a supervisory authority, you are always on top of everything that is important.” She saw no reason to intervene in the running processes.
In the flood disaster on July 14-15, 2021, 135 people were killed in North Rhineland-Palatinate and around 750 were injured. (dpa)