Berlin-German Chancellor Angela Merkel investigates what she called the “surreal and haunted” scene in a devastated village on Sunday, refocusing political assistance on rapid financial assistance and climate change control. I promised to win. Floods in Western Europe killed more than 180 people..
Chancellor Merkel toured Schuld, a village on the sharp curve of the Ah River in western Germany, where many buildings were damaged or destroyed by a soaring flood on Wednesday night.
Mayor Schuld said no one was killed or injured there, but many other places were not so lucky. The death toll in the Ahrweiler area, where Schuld is located, was 112. Officials said some people were still missing and feared that the number of victims would still increase.
In Germany’s most populous neighboring state of North Rhine-Westphalia, 46 people were killed, including four firefighters.
Belgium has confirmed 31 deaths.
Assistance to the affected areas. May cost more than $ 300 million
Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had “a true picture of a surreal and haunted situation” and was still partly away from Schuld, where rubble and mud were scattered in the bright sunshine.
“It’s shocking. There are few words in German that have been devastating,” he said at a press conference in a nearby town.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said authorities will work to “set the world step by step in this beautiful region,” and her cabinet will approve immediate and medium-term financial assistance programs on Wednesday.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told Bild am Sonntag that he would need more than € 300 million ($ 354 million). And he said authorities had to set up a long-term reconstruction program worth billions of euros from previous flood experiences.
“Thankfully, Germany is a country that has financial control over it,” said Merkel, who will resign after the September elections. “Germany is a strong country and we will face this natural force in the short and medium to long term through policies that are more natural and climate friendly than in recent years.” “
Climate scientists say the link between extreme weather and global warming is unmistakable, and the urgency of doing something about climate change is undeniable.
Scientists are still uncertain whether climate change caused floods, but argue that it does exacerbate extreme weather events on display around the world.
“We must be faster in the fight against climate change,” Merkel said, noting the policies already in place by Germany and the European Union to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Nevertheless, the second lesson is that we must pay close attention to adapting to climate change.”
She said investing in the fight against climate change would be expensive, but otherwise it would be even more expensive.
“A single flood is not an example of climate change, but if you look at the loss events of the last few decades, it’s happening more often than before, so you have to put a lot of effort into it,” Merkel said. The prime minister said.
Residents of the affected areas still need support and comfort for a long time.
“This flood leaves scars on the people of Schuld. Our lives change from day to day, so we can’t forget and overcome them,” said Mayor Helmut Russi, sobbing. ..
Rain plagues other parts of Europe
Rain has stopped in the worst affected areas of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, but storms and heavy rains continue elsewhere in Western and Central Europe. Floods struck Saturday night across the German-Czech border, the southeastern corner of Germany, and the Austrian border.
In the Berchtesgaden district of Germany, about 130 people were evacuated after the ash river swelled. At least one person was killed and the railroad to Berchtesgaden was closed.
The Berchtesgaden area is also home to the Königssee sliding track and has hosted major international bobsleigh, skeleton and rouge events for over 50 years. Most of the track was destroyed and some of the concrete chute was turned into rubble by the rapids.
Flash floods struck the nearby Austrian town of Hallein late Saturday, but no casualties were reported. Further west, part of the town of Kufstein was flooded. Heavy rains and storms have caused serious damage in some parts of Austria.
Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the flood and in support of “all efforts to help those who have been severely affected.”
“We show our intimacy with the inhabitants of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, which have been hit by the devastating floods,” he said on Sunday in the first public meeting with followers of St. Peter’s Square after major surgery. “May the Lord welcome the deceased and comfort his family.”
In the eastern Belgian town of Pepinster, soldiers and firefighters searched the wreckage for survivors or bodies on Sunday, according to public broadcaster RTBF. All the houses that were still standing were searched, so I focused on the houses in the valley downstream that collapsed for those who may have been swept away by the torrent.
The ground in the town remains unstable and some more homes can collapse. “We must be aware of every step we take,” said firefighter Olivier Justo.
Meanwhile, according to the owner, cows swept 100 km (60 miles) along a flooded Dutch river will survive the day in the pasture. Farmer Har Smetz told local broadcaster 1Limburg that he had lost 10 other cows in the high waters of the southern Netherlands, one of which was found by cyclists outside the town of Escharen and rescued by firefighters. Was done.
Originally from the town of Ekto, cows could not release themselves on Saturday, with only their noses sticking out of the muddy waters of the river Meuse. The fire brigade managed to pull the animals to arid land, and authorities tracked their owners through ear tags. Smeets says cows eat and rest comfortably.
“Even if such an animal swims or floats for a long time, it is unbelievable that it still has the power to land,” he said.
Contribution: Associated Press writer Angela Charlton in Paris and Francis Demilio in Rome
This article was originally published in USA TODAY: Chancellor Merkel tours “surreal” German flood scenes, vow aid and climate change countermeasures