Saturday, September 24, 2005

Germans Can Move Water

Even in the midst of so much tragedy on the Gulf Coast, there is a story of generous effectiveness, thanks to the Germans. TQE reports:

Remember those estimates that it would take three to six months to pump the water out of New Orleans? Just ten days after those estimates were made, the city is more or less dry. There is a story behind this news. It has to do with a large contingent of German volunteers who came to play a major role in the rescue of New Orleans. It's time someone told their story...

Tested and proven in the Asian Tsunami disaster earlier this year, and in the floods of 2003 in France, the German pumping team could provide what no other country had available: fast, experienced help with some of the best mobile pumping equipment available anywhere.

By Sunday, September 4, the offer had been accepted by US Ambassador William Timken on behalf of the United States — at a time when most other nations were still asking how they could help. THW, the German technical relief agency, asked for volunteers. By departure date the German team had grown to 89 volunteers, with five paid support personnel. They were joined by a five-person team from Luxembourg. All expenses were covered by the Federal Republic of Germany.

It is largely due to these pumps that the now-famous 9th ward was largely dry by the time Rita hit, and if the pumps weather the storm, it will be dry again much sooner than after Katrina.

While the story is inspiring, it is also distubing that there were no official channels through disaster response agencies, no pre-conceived plans to arrange for such pumps. That is a lesson for FEMA to work on for the future. Nevertheless, it renews hope in humanity when people come together like this in a time of need.


At 11:35 PM, Blogger Kathleen Callon said...

Great post. Do you happen to know if there is an article or site about this? I'd like to post about this, too, with a link to you, but want include pictures as well. Peace.

At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many pictures on the site of the THW.


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