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News ID: 92577
Publish Date : 18 July 2021 - 21:57
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FRANKFURT (Dispatches) – Flash floods hit southern Germany on Sunday, killing at least one person and adding to the flooding devastation that has claimed the lives of more than 180 people in Europe in recent days.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the flooding as “terrifying” on Sunday after the death toll across the region rose to 184.
Merkel promised swift financial aid after visiting one of the areas worst affected by the record rainfall and floods that have killed at least 157 in Germany alone in recent days, in the country’s worst natural disaster in almost six decades.
“It is terrifying,” she told residents of the small town of Adenau in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. “The German language can barely describe the devastation that’s taken place.”
As efforts continued to track down missing people, the devastation continued on Sunday when a district of Bavaria, southern Germany, was hit by flash floods that killed at least one person.
Roads were turned into rivers, some vehicles were swept away and swathes of land buried under thick mud in Berchtesgadener Land. Hundreds of rescue workers were searching for survivors in the district, which borders Austria.
“We were not prepared for this,” said Berchtesgadener Land district administrator Bernhard Kern, adding that the situation had deteriorated “drastically” late on Saturday, leaving little time for emergency services to act.
The scale of the floods mean they could shake up Germany’s general election in September next year.

Merkel Successor
Caught Laughing

Armin Laschet, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union and the united candidate of the CDU/Bavarian Christian Social Union alliance in the upcoming September elections, has received scorn from other politicians and online for bursting into laughter at a press conference Saturday in which President Frank-Walter Steinmeier discussed the deadly consequences of the recent mass flooding.
Speaking in the town of Erftstadt, North Rhine-Westphalia, one of the communities hit hardest by the flooding, a sombre Steinmeier lamented that “much has been lost and will not be easily replaced. But the biggest loss is the one felt by those who have lost relatives in the floods. We are mourning with the people who have lost friends and acquaintances and family members. Your fate has broken our hearts”.
During the president’s comments, however, Laschet, who is also the minister-president of North Rhine-Westphalia, could be seen in the background giddily laughing about something while speaking to a colleague.
Scientists, who have long said that climate change will lead to heavier downpours, said it would still take several weeks to determine its role in these relentless rainfalls.
In Belgium, which will hold a national day of mourning on Tuesday, water levels were falling on Sunday and the clean-up operation was underway. The military was sent in to the eastern town of Pepinster, where a dozen buildings have collapsed, to search for any further victims.
Tens of thousands of people are without electricity and Belgian authorities said the supply of clean drinking water was also a big concern.

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