German floods kill 58 people and dozens are missing

Germany’s worst floods in years have caused 58 deaths and dozens of others are missing. The heavy rains in the previous few days caused senior politicians to link it to climate change.

The river washed most of western Germany, and the flood washed away houses along the way. German television news showed that destroyed houses, uprooted trees and fragments of overturned cars were scattered in the town center.

When the flood was surging around them, helicopters used winches to win dozens of people from the treetops and the roofs of their houses to safety. Twenty people were killed in the Rhineland city of Cologne and its surrounding areas. Two of them drowned in their flooded cellars.Up to 165,000 people were out of power

Angela Merkel, who is in talks with US President Joe Biden in Washington, has promised that the government will provide help to those affected by the flood. The German Chancellor said that the victims can “rest assured that we will use all the power of the country to save lives, avoid threats and alleviate people’s suffering.”

Armin Laschet, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia from the center-right CDU/CSU group, and the candidate for chancellor in the German national election in September, visited one of the worst-hit towns. One Hagen, where flooding is linked to climate change.

“We will face such incidents time and time again, which means we need to accelerate climate protection measures at the European, federal and global levels, because climate change is not limited to one state,” he said.

The Governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, visited Hagen, some of the worst flooding sites © FRIEDEMANN VOGEL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Two other prime minister candidates-Annalena Belbok of the Green Party and Olaf Schultz of the Social Democrats-interrupted their summer vacation to assess the situation in the flooded area.

Several towns, including Altena near Wuppertal, have been cut off from the outside world by rising floods. Railway services and mobile phone coverage were disrupted, power outages in several cities and towns affected drinking water supplies. The hospitals in the towns of Leverkusen and Eschweiler in the Rhine region had to be evacuated.

Other countries have also experienced floods. In Belgium, two men died after heavy rains and a 15-year-old girl disappeared after being washed away by floods. After the Vesdre River burst, about 12 houses in Pepinster collapsed and residents were evacuated from more than 1,000 houses.

Meteorologists accuse a low-pressure weather system-“Bernd”-of bringing hot and humid Mediterranean air to northern and eastern Germany, and being trapped by two high-pressure zones, preventing it from moving forward.

“In the past two days, some areas received more than 200 liters of rainfall per square meter,” said Meteorologist Mark Eisenmann of the German television channel ARD. “Extreme level [of rain] Reached an unprecedented level. Therefore, the effect is dramatic. “

He said the rainfall was so heavy “that it is no longer absorbed by the river [or] soil”.

People fetch water on a flooded street in Spa, Belgium

People try to clear floodwater from a street in Spa, Belgium © AFP via Getty Images

In Ahrweiler and surrounding areas in the Rhineland-Palatinate state of western Germany, 5 people were killed and dozens of others were missing. The heavy rain there turned the Ahr river flowing into the Rhine into a torrential torrent, destroying about 100 houses and damaging 10 schools.

The damage was particularly severe in the small town of Schuld near the Belgian border, where four houses were completely washed away by the flood.

Rhineland-Palatinate Governor Maru Dreyer said: “Some people are dead, some are missing, and many people are still in danger.” “This is really devastating.”

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