Dozens of people are killed in the collapse of houses in Germany, Belgium and other parts of Western Europe after a heavy rainy day when the worst floods in decades swelled rivers and overloaded sewage systems. Fearful, more people went missing.
More than 40 people have died and more than 50 have been reported missing in western Germany, with nearly 100 houses collapsed, six of which were in small villages in Schuld.
On Thursday, people remained trapped in homes throughout the region, and many were waiting to be rescued on the roof as severe floods turned streets into rivers, swept cars, and crushed homes. .. Hundreds of thousands of households have been cut off from electricity, water and telecommunications throughout the flooded area. In one town, a torrent tore part of the railroad, officials said.
Two firefighters were killed while rescuing people surrounded by floods, according to officials in western North Rhine-Westphalia. The army was deployed to support rescue services to evacuate hospitals and homes with the help of helicopters and armored amphibious vehicles.
Rainfall in the area subsided on Thursday, but infrastructure remained severely affected and authorities feared that more homes weakened by the floods could collapse. Dozens of citizens sought help from the emergency department, according to Philip Heller, deputy director of the fire department in the western town of Blankenheim.
“I am upset by the catastrophe that caused the suffering of so many people in the flooded areas. My condolences go to relatives of the dead and missing. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday. In a tweet released by a spokesman, I am deeply grateful to the many supporters and rescue services. “
Survivors told German television how the torrents robbed them of all their property and, in some cases, wiped out their entire home. Part of the Rhine, Europe’s main waterway, which extends beyond the embankment, is closed to traffic.
According to local officials, a similar scene took place in southern Belgium, killing at least six people and evacuating many in the worst-hit areas, such as Liege, after the collapse of more than 12 homes. Was there. Liege officials have requested all non-residents to evacuate the city, and the water was expected to exceed 1.5 meters, so residents were asked to stay on the upper floors. Trains and other services were suspended as rescue teams rushed to the affected areas throughout Wallonia.
Across the border, authorities in Limburg, the southern part of the Netherlands, said hundreds of households needed to be evacuated. The bridge was washed away by the floods in the area.
In neighboring France, the Meteorological Agency warned on Thursday that heavy rainfall could occur in the northeastern part of the German border. The system continued east and south towards Northern Italy.
“This very bad weather spell is very rare in the middle of the summer of the weather,” said La Chaîne Météo, the French meteorological network, adding that it could bring record heavy rainfall in the eastern part of the country. I did.
Flood coincides with seizures Terrible heat and drought In the United States and parts of Europe, some scientists say there is evidence that extreme weather events become more frequent as climate change progresses.
According to a report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction in October 2020, the number of major natural disasters during the period 2000-2019 increased by 74.5% compared to the period 1980-1999, most of the difference. It was due to the weather. Related events such as floods, storms and droughts.
Not all extreme weather events can be explained by climate change, but many scientists say that global warming More unpredictable weather patterns Increase in occurrence with Extreme event According to Andreas Marx, a climate researcher at the Helmholtz Environmental Research Center in Germany, this year’s heat wave in the western United States.
Marx said Germany has experienced similar disasters over the last 15 years and it is difficult to establish a clear link between individual events and global climate change.
“But it’s also true that such events are expected in the wake of climate change. Heating the Earth’s surface can lead to heavy rains due to the increased moisture in the atmosphere. This is happening now. We’ve confirmed that, “says expert Marx. In a drought study, he said.
He said there is clear evidence that the regular, extremely moist seasons are becoming moist, while the extremely dry seasons are dry due to climate change.
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