Cologne (dpa) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with people affected by the floods that overwhelmed western Germany as part of a return visit to the state of North Rhine Westphalia on Sunday with the state’s premier and possibly the next chancellor, Armin Laschet.
Merkel met with the colleagues of two volunteer firefighters who had died during flood operations in the Sauerland region in mid-July.
The head of the local volunteer fire brigade, Dirk Kersenbrock, said that his colleagues’ deaths had left him in shock and described Merkel’s visit as a «special gift.»
Merkel is due to visit a bridge on the outskirts of the Ruhr Valley city of Hagen that has already been rebuilt after heavy flood damage and will take part in a municipal conference on reconstruction.
Lachet is the candidate for chancellor from Merkel’s Christian Democrats and hopes to succeed her after the September election.
In the north-west of the Sauerland region, the floods were worst in the small town of Altena, which was at times virtually cut off from the outside world after landslides and flooding.
By Christoph Driessen, dpa