• Germany's news in English
 

Deggendorf devastated: Danube floods town

Published: 07 Jun 2013 11:51 GMT+02:00

After a dyke burst near the 120,000-person community, water levels rose to a record-breaking eight metres. The town flooded and in places buildings are two metres underwater, Der Spiegel news magazine reported on Friday.

And as Bavarian state premiere Horst Seehofer circled above in a helicopter, what he saw left him struggling for words. “It's indescribably awful. It surpasses any expectations,” he told the news magazine. For those there, working to help the 50 people refusing to leave their houses, the situation is even less comprehensible.

In the Fischerdorf area of the town, water has replaced ground, covered fences and is lapping at second-storey windows. Hiding in upper floors some refused to evacuate: scared of looting and not wanting to leave their lives behind.

“I can understand it,” Florian Uhlmann told Der Spiegel. He has been driving one of the 20 boats around the town which have been checking up on and bringing supplies to the remaining few for the past six nights. With no street lights, and little electricity, this is a dangerous job.

Photos from flooded Deggendorf

The water smells like the oil that has leaked out from heating systems. Debris clogs up the water, threatening to hit the patrol boats' motors. Even the fire station is underwater. Entire car dealerships have seen millions of euros worth of vehicles destroyed, Die Welt newspaper said.

Slowly, the water level is dropping and on Thursday in places looked to have sunk by 50 centimetres. The Danube, which lies right next to the town, is gradually beginning to recede.

Yet at the moment, getting from Deggendorf to Munich takes three hours while normally it takes just one. This is making getting clean up supplies difficult, and all roads going south are shut.

Only a few emergency vehicles are allowed through. Regional authorities are widely citing transport as being a bigger problem at this point than the water itself, said the Passauer Neue Presse regional paper.

“It brings me to tears,” district administrator Christian Bernreiter told Die Welt, who has seen 11 surrounding villages evacuated on Friday morning alone. Twenty one areas had already been told to clear out, with police storming in, armed with loud speakers, sirens wailing.

Help is at hand, luckily, for Deggendorf as the Bavarian Red Cross (BRK) is out in force and families can now get €1,500 instantly. The federal government has given Lower Bavaria €20.5 million already to give to those in need. Small businesses can get up to €5,000.

Volunteers are donating money and supplies, and even helping to pump out cellars. “The readiness to help is magnificent,” BRK branch head Leonhard Stärk told Die Welt. “One family has donated an entire kitchen to their neighbours who saw theirs destroyed.”

“We have the situation under control right now but anything can happen at any time,” district administrator Peter Erl said. More rain has been forecast but at this point, said Erl, the weather no longer makes a difference.

The Local/jcw

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Auschwitz expert slams Nazi justice record
Photo: DPA

Auschwitz expert slams Nazi justice record

Oskar Gröning, 93, a former Nazi known as the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz", goes on trial in Germany on Tuesday in what could be the last Nazi war crimes trial while an expert calls the country's judicial record 'miserable'. READ  

Turkish Airlines: married pilots are safer pilots
Photo: DPA

Turkish Airlines: married pilots are safer pilots

The general manager of Turkish Airlines has urged single pilots to marry, after the Germanwings tragedy blamed on a pilot with psychological problems. READ  

Germany and Greece
'It hurts when Germans call Greece a failed state'
Thanasis Glavinas outside one of the German parliament's buildings. Photo: Private

'It hurts when Germans call Greece a failed state'

With the war of words – and cashflows – between Greece and Germany showing no sign of dying down, The Local meets one young Greek who's come to see what the Germans have to teach about running a country successfully. READ  

Interior Minister wants quicker deportations
'Loitz doesn't need any asylum seekers' reads the graffiti. Photo:DPA

Interior Minister wants quicker deportations

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière called on Friday for state governments to speed up deportations of failed asylum applicants, in the latest round in a war of words between the federal government and the states. READ  

VW CEO survives despite departure rumours
Photo: DPA

VW CEO survives despite departure rumours

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has dodged a broadside from company chairman Ferdinand Piech which many thought would unseat him from the troubled car maker. Instead, the steering committee has offered him an extension to his contract. READ  

Bayern doctor quits in spat with Guardiola
Tension on the touchline: Guardiola, Schweinsteiger and Müller-Wohlfahrt Photo: DPA

Bayern doctor quits in spat with Guardiola

The resignation of iconic club doctor Hans-Willhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt on Thursday evening threatens to unleash internal chaos at Bayern Munich after their Champions League humiliation at the hands of FC Porto. READ  

Deutsche Bahn flirts with drivers' strike deadline
An InterCity train in Hannover's main train station. Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bahn flirts with drivers' strike deadline

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn has until 3 pm on Friday to respond to demands from the Train Drivers' Union (GDL) for a "reasonable provisional result" in talks over pay, conditions and union representation. READ  

Liberals: Data retention unconstitutional
Deputy leader of the Free Democratic Party Wolfgang Kubicki. Photo:DPA

Liberals: Data retention unconstitutional

The deputy leader of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), Wolfgang Kubicki, called the government's plans to store communications data 'unconstitutional' and said he will fight the proposals in court. READ  

Germany honours Warsaw Uprising fighters
Leszek Zukowski (c) participated in the Warsaw uprising. Photo:DPA

Germany honours Warsaw Uprising fighters

Germany on Thursday awarded its highest honour for the first time to Poles who fought the occupying Nazis in the ill-fated Warsaw Uprising of 1944, one of World War II's bloodiest episodes. READ  

Police grab 'Turkish Communists' in raids
A special police intervention unit (SEK) training in Thuringia. File photo: DPA

Police grab 'Turkish Communists' in raids

State prosecutors in Karlsruhe said on Thursday that police had captured seven members of the Turkish Communist Party (TKP) in raids across southern and western Germany. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,184
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd