Germany recalls historic, climate-related floods

Raging waves, 185 dead, houses and bridges swept away like straw: Germany on Thursday remembers climate change-linked floods that devastated the country’s west a year ago.

“We have not forgotten the residents of the Ahr Valley, we know how many of them are still struggling to rebuild their homes,” declared German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier from the devastated valley last July.

In this western part, the scars of the flood are visible, especially the walls of the houses with traces of mud. The disaster shocked Germany and opened its eyes to its vulnerability and the ineffectiveness of its warning services.

“Climate change is upon us, and we are seeing heat waves in large parts of Germany these days, where forests are burning and groundwater levels are falling, while other areas are suffering from bad weather,” Mr. Steinmeier recalls the rush. Action to save the planet.

At the end of the day, Chancellor Olaf Scholz will participate in commemorations that will continue through the weekend, notably with human chains in several villages.

Unprecedented rain

On July 14 and 15, 2021, 100 to 150 millimeters of rain fell in the west of the country, unprecedented rainfall in Germany since weather records began.

West Germany’s Länder of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate paid the highest price, with 49 and 135 deaths respectively. One person died in Bavaria. Municipalities, bridges, roads, railways, hospitals and houses were swept away by the foaming waves that rose from the riverbeds.

The damage estimate is estimated at more than 30 billion euros. More than 85,000 people or families were affected and about 10,000 businesses were affected in both regions.

Belgium and the Netherlands were also hit hard. In eastern Belgium, the floods killed 39 people and injured thousands.

Sirens Rehab

To avoid new tragedies, the German government now wants to use a mechanism called “cell broadcasting” to send alerts to phones when the network is overloaded or disrupted. Germany plans to restore sirens, many of which have been removed in recent years.

This article was published automatically. Sources: ats / afp

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