Flood Deaths Are Rising In Germany, Dozens killed after record rain in Germany and Belgium
The worst flooding in decades to affect Germany, Catastrophic flooding in western Europe has killed more than 120 people, with hundreds more missing, authorities said Friday, as large-scale rescue efforts continue amidst rising water, landslides, and power outages.
In Germany, at least 105 people have been killed across two western states. In the hard-hit district of Ahrweiler, in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, authorities told CNN that 1,300 people remained unaccounted for.
“There is no end in sight just yet,” Ulrich Sopart, a police spokesman in the city of Koblenz, told CNN. He said that authorities are hopeful that they will be able to revise down the number of missing people as the rescue operation continues and phone lines are restored.
”Our hopes are that some people might have been registered as missing twice or even three times — if for example a family member, a work colleague or a friend has registered a person as missing,” Sopart said.
”Also, [in] some places phone lines are still down and reception is difficult. We do hope that people will get in touch with a relative, work colleague or friend to let them know they are fine,” he said.
At least 165,000 people are currently without power in Rhineland-Palatinate and the neighboring state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
In response to news footage showing the massive destruction and desperate families perched on rooftops waiting to be rescued on Friday, Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said that “Climate Change has arrived in Germany.”
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed shock over the flooding and said that action needed to be taken to prevent future such catastrophes.
“Only if we take up the fight against climate change decisively, we will be able to prevent we will be able to keep extreme weather conditions such as those we are experiencing,” Steinmeier in an address in Berlin on Friday.
“We don’t know the death toll yet, but it’s going to be high. Some died in their basements, some as firefighters trying to bring others to safety,” she said.
Merkel, on her last U.S. visit as chancellor before a Sept. 26 election to replace her, met with President Biden at the White House on Thursday. Climate change was among the items on their agenda.
That meeting took place as regional governments in western Germany battled against the rain-triggered floods to rescue hundreds of people cut off by the raging water.
Nine residents of an assisted living facility for people with disabilities are among some 60 people dead in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Officials say the situation remains chaotic there and in North-Rhine Westphalia, where the city of Cologne is located, and that electricity and cellphone networks are down.