The two unconnected articles below acquire more significance when posted together. Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translations.
First, from Handelsblatt:
Government Report: Refugee costs amounted to 23 billion euros in 2018
Last year, the German federal government spent 23 billion euros on refugees. Of this amount, 7.9 billion was spent on combating the causes of flight.
Berlin — According to a media report, the federal government spent 23 billion euros last year to fight the causes of flight and to care for arriving migrants. This is a further increase compared to 2017, reports the Bild newspaper (Monday). At that time, just under 21 billion euros were spent. The newspaper refers to the government report “Refugee and Integration Costs”, which is to be approved by the cabinet on Wednesday.
The largest part of the money, about 7.9 billion euros, had been used to fight the causes of flight. In addition, more than 4 billion euros were spent on Hartz IV (welfare benefits). According to the report, 7.5 billion euros went to the federal states, for example for the registration and accommodation of refugees up to the asylum decision as well as integration courses.
The second article from the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung describes the preparations by a German relief agency the possibility of war:
War Can No Longer Be Ruled Out — The THW has newly Repositioned Itself
For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the German Agency for Technical Relief is preparing for war in Europe again. THW Hattingen is prepared.
Due to societal changes, the Technical Relief Agency Hattingen has repositioned itself.
“According to the reassessment of the security situation, there could be war on European territory. So this is how we will now align ourselves,” explains Ingo Brune, the head of THW Hattingen.
Emergency care instead of salvage
It is a serious turn of events for the current 123 volunteers, including young people. Due to possible natural disasters and terrorist attacks, the Federal Ministry of the Interior has launched a “Civil Defence Concept”, which changes the tasks of THW.
The buzzword for German officials is “Kritis”, and means critical infrastructure. “Our second rescue team is now being transformed into the new Emergency Repair and Supply Group,” explains Ingo Brune, head of THW Hattingen.
Preparation for cyber attacks, war and terrorism
The Technical Relief Agency has been in existence since 1953. After the end of the Cold War in 1995, it was hoped that the political tensions that could lead to war had been finally overcome. Accordingly, THW was reorganised at that time. But this turned out to be a fallacy. “We must now also adjust to the fact that wars, cyber attacks, or attacks on electricity or drinking water are possible,” says Brune.
Accordingly, the focal points of the tasks are also changing at THW. “Until 1995 the organisation had been oriented towards urban warfare. And it was about missions caused by storms, droughts, heat and natural disasters,” explains the THW head. “THW’s primary goal was always to protect the population.” However, it was never primarily about help after the collapse of an individual house, but always about large situations of danger such as earthquakes, or for example bombing at night.
THW Hattingen already has a local emergency response system
The next restructuring is now underway. Protection in the event of war has been resumed. What the federal government expects from the 668 local associations is already present in Hattingen for the most part, says Brune.
Financed by donations, THW Hattingen since 2005 manages a local danger defense group, which was set up with the Ennepe Ruhr circle. That means: There are already accommodations for large-scale operations, available, for example kitchens, tents, cooling possibilities, lighting, electricity, heating, tables and chairs. This equipment must be purchased in many local federations now.
Vehicles are obsolete
What have to be newly procured in Hattingen are vehicles. The old vehicles, which are supposed to have a service life of 24 to 26 years, have already been in use for much longer. “Our oldest vehicle is now 36 years old,” says Brune.
The new generation of auxiliary vehicles no longer has fixed superstructures, but can — depending on the situation — be assembled with modules for the respective application. In the past, there was always a lack of money for new vehicles. “Today it’s not the money, it’s production problems that manufacturers have. They can’t produce as many vehicles as they need in such a short time.”
THW Hattingen is currently waiting for five new vehicles. Brune: “The nationwide conversion is currently being planned with normal procurement planning and financing. It can take up to 20 years until the last part is there.”