Chelsea star Kai Havertz has made a €200,000 donation to launch a German Red Cross flood crisis fund after being stunned by the extent of the tragedy.
The North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate regions were severely affected in July, with over 180 deaths recorded and shocking levels of structural damage caused.
Now Germany international Havertz, who hails from Aachen in North-Rhine Westfalia, has expressed sorrow and concern at his homeland being susceptible to such devastating events.
Havertz will also auction off special edition Nike football boots to boost financial support for the relief effort, he said, with 100 pairs produced. He is also urging others to make cash donations to the fund.
The 22-year-old told Bild he spoke to the German Red Cross about what could be done, saying: “It is important for me to show my support to people: I grew up in the area.
“The pictures of the flood were just terrible to look at. The disaster was only a few weeks ago, but something has already disappeared from the consciousness of many people, you don’t really know how those affected are doing there.
“That’s why it was important to me to help people. Even if the water may be gone: there are still many without electricity, without a roof over their heads, without clothes. People just lost everything. Friends of friends are affected, the whole thing is very close, tangible.”
Extreme levels of rainfall led to the flooding which also affected other countries in central Europe, with Belgium among those hit hard.
Havertz, who scored the winning goal in last season’s Champions League final against Manchester City, said it was easy to allow such shocking events to be overtaken in the public eye as the cycle of news moves to the next major story. But his view is that with the flooding, everything should be done to avoid this happening while many continue to suffer.
Ahead of his team’s match at Arsenal on Sunday, Havertz hopes his rallying call for the German floods cause is heard.
The former Bayer Leverkusen attacker added: “When natural disasters happen, you notice it and pay attention for a moment, but maybe lose sight of it again.
“The natural disaster on my doorstep changed my thinking. This is not a hurricane in Florida, it happened here, in the middle of Germany.”
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