- The death toll from the floods in Europe has risen to 180.
- Authorities fear that the death toll from the floods in Europe will continue to rise higher.
- This Sunday the rescue work continues in all the affected towns.
A true tragedy of nature. Authorities confirmed that the death toll from the floods in Europe has risen to 180 and they fear it could continue to rise higher as rescue efforts continue.
The news agency AP reported that the death toll from the floods in western Europe surpassed 180 people on Sunday, as rescue work among the rubble advanced as the waters receded.
The tragedy of the floods in Europe
In the affected area of Ahrweiler, in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, the police reported 110 deaths and warned that the number could continue to rise, said the aforementioned news agency.
In neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia state, Germany’s most populous, 45 deaths were confirmed, including four firefighters. And Belgium confirmed 27 deaths, the AP report detailed.
Authorities visit devastated areas
According to the agency, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was scheduled to visit Schuld on Sunday, a town near Ahrweiler that was devastated by floods. The country’s president visited the area on Saturday and made it clear that the region will need assistance in the long term.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz mentioned that he would propose an immediate aid package at a government meeting on Wednesday, and in statements to the newspaper Bild am Sonntag estimated that more than 300 million euros (354 million dollars) would be needed. And he pointed out that officials should start working on a reconstruction program, which according to the experience of other floods, will amount to billions of euros, AP reported.
The storms continue in several areas
Although it has stopped raining in the most affected areas of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, the AP news agency noted, the storms still persisted in other areas of central and western Europe.
According to the news agency, on Saturday night there were floods in the border region between Germany and the Czech Republic, at the other end of the country from last week’s floods, as well as in southeastern Germany and Austria.
AP indicated that about 65 people were evacuated from the Berchtesgaden area, in Germany, due to the flooding of the Ache River, where at least one person died, and reported that a flash flood affected the Austrian town of Hallein on Saturday night, although at first no victims were reported.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz indicated on Twitter that the downpours and storms were causing serious damage in various parts of the country, according to the report on Sunday from the aforementioned news agency.
The urgency of combating climate change after floods in Europe
The AP said climate scientists said the connection between extreme weather events and global warming is unequivocal, and the urgency to do something about climate change is undeniable.
Scientists cannot yet say for sure whether climate change caused the floods in Europe, but they insist it certainly exacerbates the extreme weather that has been recorded in different parts of the world, the AP review concluded.
“Disaster after disaster”
Earlier, Dutch Acting Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who visited the area on Friday, said the region faced “three disasters.” “First, there was corona (virus), now these floods, and soon people will have to work on cleanup and recovery,” he said.
“It’s disaster after disaster after disaster. But we will not leave Limburg ”, the southern province affected by the floods. His government has declared a state of emergency due to the flood, which made it possible to open national funds for those affected.
Floods in Europe caused rivers and lakes to overflow
Among other efforts to help flood victims, the Dutch Hertog Jan Brewery, which is based in the affected area, delivered 3,000 cases of beer to locals to help them lift their belongings off the ground to protect them from the flood.
In Switzerland, heavy rains caused several rivers and lakes to overflow, and Lucerne city authorities closed several pedestrian bridges over the Reuss River as a precaution.
In the southern Dutch province of Limburg, troops piled up sandbags to strengthen a 1.1-kilometer stretch of dike along the Maas river and police helped evacuate some slums after flooding in Europe. Acting Prime Minister Mark Rutte said late Thursday that the government was officially declaring flood-affected regions as a disaster area, meaning businesses and residents are eligible for damage compensation.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander visited the region on Thursday evening, calling the scenes “heartbreaking.” Meanwhile, sustained rains in Switzerland caused several rivers and lakes to rupture. Public broadcaster SRF reported that a flash flood washed away cars, flooded basements and destroyed small bridges in the northern villages of Schleitheim und Beggingen on Thursday night.
The full extent of the damage is unknown
The full extent of the damage in the region was still unclear after many villages were cut off by floods and landslides that made roads impassable. Videos posted on social media showed cars floating down the streets and houses partially collapsed in some places.
Many of the dead were only discovered after the floodwaters began to recede again. Police said on Friday that four people were killed in separate incidents after their basements were flooded in Cologne, Kamen and Wuppertal, where authorities warned that a dam was threatening to explode.
Firefighters killed in work
As previously stated in MundoHispánicoAuthorities in the Rhine-Sieg county, south of Cologne, Germany, ordered the evacuation of several villages below the Steinbachtal reservoir amid fears that the dam could also break. Two firefighters were killed during rescue operations in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state in that country.
Governor Armin Laschet paid tribute to them and promised quick help for people and businesses affected by the floods. “We still do not know the extent of the damage, but we will not leave the communities, the affected people alone,” he said during a visit to the flood-affected city of Hagen.
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