The President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Andrew Parsons has spoken of his shock at the damage caused by flooding earlier this week in North Rhine Westphalia, the home state of the IPC’s Bonn-based office. He has also sent his thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives and the many thousands of people who were impacted by this week’s event.
Earlier this week, prolonged heavy rainfall in North Rhine Westphalia and neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate led to unprecedented flooding and landslides, claiming the lives of more than 150 people, and leaving many more unaccounted for.
Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “When you see images of natural disasters in the news they are usually in far-distant lands, not in the state where your organisation is based and where many of your team herald from.
“The images that have been broadcast around the world are truly shocking, the level of desecration horrendous, the intensity and scale of the floods totally unimaginable.
“Thankfully, all IPC staff are safe and well, although sadly some were flooded, faced power cuts or had family members directly impacted. My thoughts are with them at this difficult time.
“Our home city of Bonn escaped the worst of Wednesday’s storm, but the damage caused to neighbouring areas is beyond catastrophic and more akin to the worst disaster movies.
“My heart and deepest condolences go out to those who lost loved ones and those who are still trying to trace relatives or friends. Many thousands have had their lives turned upside down and I cannot imagine how hard it is for them right now.
“The IPC stands in solidarity with our local community, a place we have been proud to call our home for the last 21 years. On Friday, many staff started collections of clothes and foodstuffs to support those impacted by the floods, and over the weekend several have volunteered to support with the clean-up operations.”