Disaster response Germany

Western Europe Flooding

Published on Jul 19, 2021 03:31 PM  -  Updated on Sep 07, 2021 11:26 AM
In July 2021, record rainfall caused widespread flooding across Western Europe, with some areas suffering the worst devastation in decades. More than 180 casualties were confirmed and thousands forced to leave their houses.
  • Context: floods
  • Start date: 16/07/2021
  • End date: 23/07/2021
  • Area of intervention: Western Germany
  • Activity: support to humanitarian coordination 


In mid-July 2021 torrential rains hit Western Europe causing the worst floods in decades in several regions in the West of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Some of the most affected areas were the German regions of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, where several villages and towns were flooded and some neighborhoods destroyed. The floods caused more than 180 deaths and thousands of people were forced to leave their houses. Internet and phone lines have been down in many of the affected areas, hampering rescue operations and making difficult to contact the affected communities and understand the needs on the ground.

Support to relief operations

Our team deployed on Friday 16 July to two of the highest priority areas: the Ahrweiler’s district and the town of Euskirchen.

In Ahrweiler, satellite lines were provided to the local firefighters and all the other emergency responders including the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), who were rescuing people in areas where the mobile networks were cut off. In Euskirchen, following the request of the Red Cross, our team installed a broadband satellite connection in their local office to support their emergency operations. After the torrential rains and consequent floods that hit the area, the city remained cut off from the rest of the world, without electricity and without telecom network. It was thus extremely difficult for the relief organisations to contact the victims, search for missing people and coordinate their work. TSF’s connection was particularly important for them to facilitate and speed up these operations.