Extreme rainfall brings deadly floods in Northern Europe

After high-ranking politicians linked heavy rains to climate change, Germany experienced its worst floods in years, killing at least 33 people and missing dozens of others.

Twenty people were killed in the Rhine city of Cologne and its surrounding areas. Two of them drowned in their own flooded cellar.

The river washed most of western Germany and washed away the houses that were blocking the road. Several towns, including Altena near Wuppertal, are isolated from the outside world, rail services have been disrupted, and mobile phone coverage throughout the region has been adversely affected. The hospitals in the towns of Leverkusen and Eschweiler in the Rhine region had to be evacuated.

Other countries have also experienced floods. In Belgium, two men died due to heavy rains and a 15-year-old girl disappeared after being washed away by floods. After the Vesdre River burst, about 12 houses in Pepinster collapsed and residents were evacuated from more than 1,000 houses.

Meteorologists accuse a low-pressure weather system-“Bernd”-for bringing hot and humid Mediterranean air to northern and eastern Germany, and being trapped by two high-pressure zones, preventing it from moving forward.

“In the past two days, some areas received more than 200 liters of rainfall per square meter,” said Meteorologist Mark Eisenmann of the German television channel ARD. “Extreme level [of rain] Reached an unprecedented level. Therefore, the effect is dramatic. “

Damage caused by the flooding of the Worm River in Dahl near Hagen in western Germany © AFP via Getty Images

He said the rainfall was so heavy “that it was no longer absorbed by the river [or] soil”.

German television news showed scenes of destruction, with destroyed houses, uprooted tree trunks and fragments of overturned cars scattered in the town center. When the flood was surging around them, helicopters dragged people from the treetops and the roofs of their houses to safety with winches.

In Ahrweiler and surrounding areas in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, 5 people died and dozens of others were missing. The heavy rains there turned the Ahr River flowing into the Rhine into a torrential torrent, destroyed about 100 houses, flooded and damaged 10 schools. The damage was particularly severe in the small town of Schuld near the Belgian border, where four houses were completely washed away by the flood.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is in talks with Joe Biden in the United States, said on Twitter that she was “shocked by the disaster so many people have to endure in flooded areas.” She expressed sympathy for the victims and their families, and thanked the “untiring” emergency services “from the heart”.

People fetch water from the flooded streets of Spa in Belgium © AFP via Getty Images

Rhineland-Palatinate Governor Maru Dreyer said: “Some people are dead, some are missing, and many people are still in danger.” “This is really devastating.”

By lunchtime on Thursday, 33 people had been confirmed dead, and dozens of people were still missing. In Cologne, the two were found dead in a flooded cellar.

Armin Laschet, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia and the conservative candidate to succeed Merkel as prime minister, has linked floods with climate change.

“We will face such incidents time and time again, which means we need to accelerate climate protection measures-at the European, federal and global levels, because climate change is not limited to one state,” he said to visit one of the cities affected by flood Town of Hagen.

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