AP PHOTOS: Christmas cheer found in flooded German valley

Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_82955 An illuminated Christmas tree leans against the window of a damaged house in Mayschoss in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Tuesday, Dec.14, 2021. The region was hit by floodings exactly five months ago, causing the death of about 180 people. Amid the mud and debris still clogging the streets from last summer's devastating floods, residents of the Ahr Valley in western Germany are trying to spark some festive cheer with Christmas trees.
APTOPIX_Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_58176 A Christmas tree leans a wall of a damaged house in Mayschoss in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Tuesday, Dec.14, 2021. Amid the mud and debris still clogging the streets from last summer's devastating floods, residents of the Ahr Valley in western Germany are trying to spark some festive cheer with Christmas trees.
Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_92072 A Christmas tree stands next to shovels in the village of Dernau in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Tuesday, Dec.14, 2021. Amid the mud and debris still clogging the streets from last summer's devastating floods, residents of the Ahr Valley in western Germany are trying to spark some festive cheer with Christmas trees.
Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_60041 A Christmas tree leans against a damaged house in the village of Schuld in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Tuesday, Dec.14, 2021. Amid the mud and debris still clogging the streets from last summer's devastating floods, residents of the Ahr Valley in western Germany are trying to spark some festive cheer with Christmas trees.
Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_85893 A Christmas tree lies on front of a damaged house in Mayschoss in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Tuesday, Dec.14, 2021. The region was hit by floodings exactly five months ago, causing the death of about 180 people.Amid the mud and debris still clogging the streets from last summer's devastating floods, residents of the Ahr Valley in western Germany are trying to spark some festive cheer with Christmas trees.
Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_30029 Three men take a brake from restoring the inside of a winery in Resch in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Monday, Dec.13, 2021. Amid the mud and debris still clogging the streets from last summer's devastating floods, residents of the Ahr Valley in western Germany are trying to spark some festive cheer with Christmas trees.
Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_67218 A sign in a shop window reads "the Ahrtal lives" in Bad Neuenahr in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Monday, Dec.13, 2021. The region was hit by floodings exactly five months ago, causing the death of about 180 people.Amid the mud and debris still clogging the streets from last summer's devastating floods, residents of the Ahr Valley in western Germany are trying to spark some festive cheer with Christmas trees.
Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_34298 The remains of a bridge lead over the Ahr river in Resch in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Tuesday, Dec.14, 2021. The floods in July claimed almost 200 lives, many of them in the narrow Ahr Valley that's best known for its vineyards and as a picturesque hiking destination.
Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_62930 Damaged cars are piled up near the Ahr river in Resch in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Tuesday, Dec.14, 2021. The region was hit by floodings exactly five months ago, causing the death of about 180 people. The floods in July claimed almost 200 lives, many of them in the narrow Ahr Valley that's best known for its vineyards and as a picturesque hiking destination.
Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_00876 A woman walks on a partially destroyed cemetery in Altenahr in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. The floods in July claimed almost 200 lives, many of them in the narrow Ahr Valley that's best known for its vineyards and as a picturesque hiking destination.
Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_23355 Trace of mud made by hands are seen on a wall inside a house in the village of Schuld in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Tuesday, Dec.14, 2021. The floods in July claimed almost 200 lives, many of them in the narrow Ahr Valley that's best known for its vineyards and as a picturesque hiking destination.
Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_30123 The remains of a bridge lead over the Ahr river in Resch in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Tuesday, Dec.14, 2021. The floods in July claimed almost 200 lives, many of them in the narrow Ahr Valley that's best known for its vineyards and as a picturesque hiking destination.
Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_85442 A damaged house is seen in the village of Schuld in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Tuesday, Dec.14, 2021. The floods in July claimed almost 200 lives, many of them in the narrow Ahr Valley that's best known for its vineyards and as a picturesque hiking destination.
Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_85529 Children have painted the wall of a house with letters reading "maximum water hight on July 14, 2021" and "our flood was higher than.." showing a dinosaur in the village of Dernau in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Tuesday, Dec.14, 2021. The floods in July claimed almost 200 lives, many of them in the narrow Ahr Valley that's best known for its vineyards and as a picturesque hiking destination.
Germany_Flooded_Valley_Christmas_Photo_Gallery_26349 An illuminated Christmas tree leans against the windows of a damaged house in Mayschoss in the Ahrtal valley, southern Germany, Tuesday, Dec.14, 2021. Amid the mud and debris still clogging the streets from last summer's devastating floods, residents of the Ahr Valley in western Germany are trying to spark some festive cheer with Christmas trees.
(1/15)

MAYSCHOSS, Germany (AP) — Residents of the Ahr Valley, known as Ahrtal in German, are trying to bring some Christmas cheer to streets still clogged with mud and debris from July flooding that killed almost 200 people in western Germany.

This week, five months after the floods, a chipboard sign in the largest town, Bad Neuenahr, read: “The Ahrtal lives.” Next to it, someone had decorated a fir tree with baubles and lights.

In the village of Mayschoss, further up the valley best known for its vineyards and as a picturesque hiking destination, stood a tree with lights powered from makeshift cabling outside a damaged building.

Fresh candles cut through the dark in nearby Altenahr as they burned on the graves of local people who died in the summer disaster.

The majority of Germany’s flood deaths happened in the narrow valley, where heavy rainfall caused the Ahr River to quickly fill and spill over, drowning vehicles and crushing buildings.

Residents reported at the time receiving little advance warning of the deadly floodwaters, with some claiming that information from authorities was unclear or entirely absent.

The massive economic and emotional costs — the floods destroyed or badly damaged hundreds of houses — caused some residents to consider leaving the region.

But others have insisted they will stay, rebuild and celebrate when they can.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Related Categories:

Business & Finance | Europe News | World News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up