On Tuesday, German officials were under increasing pressure to explain why one of Europe’s wealthiest countries appeared unprepared for catastrophic floods that have killed almost 200 people and left hundreds more missing.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit the historic spa town of Bad Münstereifel, some 20 miles southwest of Bonn, for the second time on Tuesday.
The generally popular tourist destination, which features traditional black-and-white buildings and cobblestone streets, has been devastated after many months’ worth of rain fell in just 24 hours on Thursday and Friday.
In the Environment news world today According to police and the impacted regional governments, 197 people have died due to the flooding in Germany, with at least 300 people missing and 749 injured.
Many survivors are left to pick up the shattered bits of their homes.
“Everything is wrecked on a scale I couldn’t conceive before seeing it today,” said Roman Veith, a doctor who was assisting his aunt in salvaging possessions from her ruined home in Dernau, a riverfront village. “It’s like hard dirt,” he added, “you practically can’t get it with a shovel.”
“Climate change has arrived in Germany’s backyard,” Veith, 39, added.
Military helicopters from Germany swooped down from the sky, transporting supplies from one end of the valley to the other. Dernau, like many other communities in the flood zone, is without power.
As rescue and clean-up activities continue across western Germany and neighboring Belgium, where at least 31 people have perished and scores more are missing, the death toll will grow.
Belgium National Day Of Sorrow
Belgium had a national day of sorrow on Tuesday in memory of those who died after a dozen houses along a river fell in the town of Pepinster in the country’s east. Thousands of people were forced to flee the Netherlands last week after flood defenses in the south were overwhelmed.
On Sunday, Merkel paid a visit to the village of Schuld, where she warned that the floods were caused by climate change.
During a speech there, she observed, “The German language hardly knows any words for the tragedy that has been caused here.”
The death toll has prompted questions about why so many people appeared to be caught off guard by the flash floods, with opposition leaders claiming that the death toll highlighted severe flaws in Germany’s flood preparedness.
Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer
Responding to the critique during a visit to Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweile, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer defended the system, in which the German National Meteorological Service issues warnings to each of Germany’s 16 states, which then pass them on to districts and communities, which then decide how to respond on a local level.
On Monday, Seehofer told the media, “It would be utterly unimaginable for such a tragedy to be managed centrally from any one spot.” “You’re going to require some local expertise.”
Another issue has been raised by a regional government: Covid-19.
“At the present, a large number of individuals are gathered in a tiny place to work together to tackle the situation. We now have to be careful that the crisis does not become a nationwide catastrophe,” David Freichel, a spokesperson for the Rhineland-Palatinate state leadership office, told the RND media network. Follow us for more environment news world.