(Mayan) Heavy rains and floods killed at least 68 people in Europe on Thursday and many more are missing, mainly in Germany, which is experiencing its worst natural disaster in the post-war period.
Bad weather caused nine deaths, while Belgium suffered significant damage, as did Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
But in West Germany the situation is even more dramatic, with the latest death toll of at least 59 and dozens injured. The bodies of nine people living in the center for the disabled, surprised by the rising water, were found in the evening.
On Thursday evening several villages were cut off from the world, raising fears of a large increase in the number. Several dozen people are still missing.
“This is a disaster, a tragedy,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded in Washington, where she began an official visit on Thursday.
“I’m afraid we’ll see the full extent of the disaster in the next few days alone,” he told a news conference with Joe Biden, who offered “real condolences.”
More than half of the deaths were in North Rhine-Westphalia (west), the most populous in Germany, and the rest were counted in the neighboring Rhineland-Palatinate, where the passage of furious water had the effect of a tsunami.
In the same zone, in the ruins of Bad Nunehr-Ahrweiler, officials said there was no news of 1,300 people in the evening. However, they believe that this number is linked to disruptions in the telephone network.
In the Mayan city of Rhineland-Palatinate, the streets were completely flooded.
“Where does all this rain come from?” This is crazy, ”Annemarie Mல்லller thought of the flooded garden from her balcony. During the night, “It made a noise, and at any speed it went down, we thought it was going to break down the door.”
“In 2016, we already experienced severe flooding, but they were more than that,” says Uly Wallstorf, the Mayan deputy fire chief.
Armin Lacet, who wanted to win the presidency in the fall after the legislative elections, hastily canceled a meeting of his party. “The situation is dangerous,” he said. Lachet said, wearing rubber boots, communities underneath communities.
In this vast region, two firefighters died in the intervention, while two men drowned in a flooded cellar.
Rivers were flooded by torrential rains, tearing down trees, flooding roads and houses.
A total of 15,000 members of the relief, police and military are working in the most affected areas.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholes, the Social Democratic candidate for president, also went there to assess the damage, which is in the hundreds of millions of euros. Two-and-a-half months before the election, environmental candidate Annalina Bairbach wants to disrupt her vacation.
This is because these weather conditions occur in the middle of the election campaign, while the climate issue already plays an important role. They also recalled previous floods in the summer of 2002 that President Heckhard Schrder had to face before being re-elected to the Conservatives.
“Best” to produce
“These extreme weather variations are the effects of climate change,” said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who said Germany should “prepare better” for them.
“This means that we need to accelerate climate protection measures at the European, national and global levels,” said Lacet, who is leading the way in the election with environmental activists.
Warmer climates can retain more water and cause heavy rainfall. These can have devastating effects, especially in urban areas, such as poorly drained waterways and construction in flood-affected areas.
Neighboring countries of the most affected German territories, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, have also been affected.
In Belgium, four people are still missing.
The army is stationed in four of the country’s 10 provinces to assist in relief efforts and large-scale evacuations. Tents have been set up to convert residents into the water from Wednesday in the spa city.
Elio de Rupo, head of the Walloon region, warned that the Muse floods would “be the most dangerous in the league”.
In the Limburg region, in the south of the Netherlands, the flooding of the Muse in Maastricht was about to reach a level not seen for two centuries at night. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima went there on Thursday evening to meet the rescued and disaster victims, and Prime Minister Mark Rutte was to follow them on Friday.