Last week, the area I am now in (Near Dresden) was remembering ten years since the huge ‘flood of the century’. There were ‘before and after’ pictures everywhere, the radio brought interviews with people who went through it at that time and how they’re doing now, and there were several TV programs as well as a movie on the subject. I remember the day very clearly; I managed at that time, by a miracle to miss the flood by literally one day.
I had been in the city in the weeks leading up to the flood, but then needed to travel back home to Croatia with Cherise, who was a little over a year old and traveling with me in a buggy. It had been raining pretty hard in the days leading up to my departure date, but like many others, I didn’t really think much of it. We arrived in Budapest the night it all really started. The train-station we arrived at was ankle deep with water; and we had to slush through the muck to get to where the car was waiting for us. When I got home, I watched on the news over the next few days as the city I had just been in got flooded along with many small villages and towns in the area. There were some deaths as well as millions of Euros of damage. Whole houses were washed away and I still haven’t gotten used to seeing the pictures of the immense damages that were done. It really is one thing to watch on the news as something happens far away and quite another to recognize areas and towns.
There was, in many of the interviews and shows, a recurring theme: people came together to help each other out. Everyone told stories of how neighbors helped, how everyone pitched in to get sandbags up, and how volunteers came from all over Germany to help with the cleanup and rebuilding. It happened during the summer holidays and many people gave up their vacations to come and help the cities here to clean up and fix as much as they could. One person in an interview commented that the way people came together to help each other is something people should be willing to do at any time.
It struck me how quickly things got cleaned up and replaced. Some houses were never rebuilt—the area was cleared to give the river more room should it ever rain that hard again—but new ones were built in their stead. When I look at a big ‘disaster’ like that from an outside point of view and hear how people said that aside from the terrific damages, the whole feeling was a good one, people made new friends, got help they needed to rebuild, and in many cases were even better than before, it’s somehow comforting to know that humanity still has a heart. We should always be ready to lend a hand, always ready to see a need, not only with the big things such as this flood, but even with our neighbors and people close to us.