Flood disaster in the Ahr valley – “The readiness to help is overwhelming”


Help – immediately!

In the Ahr valley volunteers were able to begin clearing up fast and with a minimum of bureaucracy.

Benjamin Budick almost had the flood disaster at his door. It was only 50 kilometres from his workplace – the Commercial Vehicle Centre in Koblenz – that the river Ahr burst its banks leaving destruction in its wake. He knew straight away that there was no time to mess about, but to get to work. How can we help the victims fast and with as little bureaucracy as possible? The Service Manager had a quick solution – and found many volunteers.

Fighting the chaos with all-wheel drive.

Together with his colleagues, Budick woke ten all-wheel drive dump trucks from their summer slumber. The Arocs 2036 AK are part of the CharterWay fleet and in winter drive for snow clearing services in the Rhineland-Palatinate region. The team quickly removed the snow ploughs and grit containers and the dump trucks were ready for operation.

In the meantime, a support network headed by Christian Coutelle, Managing Director at Mercedes‑Benz Autohaus AHG Newel, had organised drivers and volunteers from all over Germany – around 100 in total. Benjamin Budick: “Ultimately Christian Coutelle took on the management of the entire operation in the area together with the Lions Club Düren Marcodurum.” It took only 24 hours from the idea to the implementation of the first Arocs trucks. The ten all-wheel drive trucks are now available for clearing work in the Ahr valley for four weeks. Every day they take away more than 1000 tonnes of rubble, debris and rubbish.

“I am overwhelmed by the readiness to help of those people who have come to the Ahr valley,” says Benjamin Budick. “Company-owners from across Germany have quickly got into their tractors and trucks together with their staff, they have loaded up excavators, wheeled loaders and crawlers, and have come here to help. Nobody asked them to, nobody paid them – they came at their own cost and risk.”

Benjamin Budick (centre) with colleagues and volunteers.

Photos: Daimler AG