At least 33 people have been killed and dozens missing in the worst floods Germany saw days after the heavy rains associated with climate change by senior politicians.
Twenty people died in and around Cologne on the Rhine, two of whom were drowned in a flooded basement.
The river ruptured embankments in most of West Germany and wiped out the houses that stood on the trails. Several towns, including Altena, near Wuppertal were cut off from the outside world, rail services were interrupted, and mobile phone coverage had a negative impact on the entire region. Hospitals in the towns of Leverkusen and Eschweiler in the Rhine area had to evacuate.
Other countries have also experienced floods. In Belgium, heavy rains reportedly killed two men and left a 15-year-old girl in a flood. After the Vesdre River broke the embankment, about 12 homes collapsed in Pepinster and residents were evacuated from more than 1,000 homes.
Meteorologists have blamed the cyclone meteorological system “Bernd”. It carried hot and humid Mediterranean air to the north and east of Germany, sandwiched between two high pressures and hindered its movement.
Mark Eisenmann, a meteorologist on the German television channel ARD, said: “Extreme level [of rain] Reached unprecedented. And the effect was correspondingly dramatic. “
He said the amount of rain was so great that it was no longer absorbed by the river. [or] soil”.
German television news showed a devastated scene of ruined house debris, uprooted tree trunks, and flipped cars scattered in the center of town. Helicopters were shown to safely winch people from the tops of trees and the ditches of their homes when floods surged around them.
Five people have died and dozens have gone missing in and around Ahrweiler in western Rhineland-Palatinate. Due to the heavy rain there, the Ah River, which flows into the Rhine, turned into a torrent, about 100 houses were destroyed, and 10 schools were flooded and damaged. The damage was particularly noticeable. In the small town of Schuld in Ah, near the Belgian border, four homes were completely washed away by the flood.
“I was shocked by the catastrophe that so many people had to endure in the flooded areas,” said Angela Merkel, the prime minister in the United States for a meeting with Joe Biden. She expressed sympathy for the victims and their families and thanked the “heartfelt” and “continuous” paramedics.
Malu Dreyer, Governor of Rhineland-Palatinate, said: “It’s really devastating.”
By lunch on Thursday, 33 people had been confirmed dead and dozens were still missing. In the city of Cologne, two people were found dead in a flooded basement.
Armin Laschet, Governor of North Rhine-Westphalia and a conservative candidate to take over as Chancellor Angela Merkel, has linked floods to climate change.
“We will face such events many times because climate change is not limited to one state and we need to speed up climate protection measures at the European, federal and global levels. Means, “he visited the flood-affected town of Hagen.