SHARE
COPY LINK

WEATHER

Merkel to tour areas devastated by floods

Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit flood-devastated parts of Germany, her spokesman said Monday, as authorities grapple with surging rivers and waters that have left at least two people dead.

Merkel to tour areas devastated by floods
Photo: DPA

Merkel – facing general elections in less than four months – will go to an as yet unannounced region on Tuesday to get her “own impression of the situation, of the aid operations, also of the precautions for protecting people and their property,” Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference.

An emergency task force is being set up with input from the interior, defence and finance ministries, he added.

Torrential rain across central Europe has hit many parts of eastern and southern Germany, especially the region of Bavaria, where large parts of the city of Passau in particular have been flooded.

The southern city which has a historic old town and is the point where the Danube is joined by the rivers Inn and Ilz saw the water rise above the levels of the disastrous 1954 floods, officials said.

Two people have died, two more are missing and thousands have been evacuated from their homes as widespread flooding ravages parts of Germany. Over 1,700 soldiers are helping those in particularly badly hit south and south-eastern areas.

Several cities and regions announced a state of emergency over the weekend in response to quickly rising waters. The states of Bavaria, Thuringia and Saxony were worst hit, with washed out roads and flooded towns.

Two people are missing in Baden-Württemberg, where the Neckar river burst its banks and reportedly swept them into the Echaz tributary.

A cyclist was one of the first victims of the flooding, which began last week. She was swept away by a river near Hannover. A 32-year-old man also drowned in a ditch after leaving a pub in Utting am Ammersee, Bavaria.

At least 1,760 soldiers are out helping in areas worse affected.

Click here for the a photo gallery of the floods.

Evacuation efforts were underway in Greiz and Zwickau, as the authorities in Chemnitz anxiously watched the river break its banks. The state premier of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, called off an official trip to Turkey to oversee the response to the disaster.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday said the affected areas could count on “full support” from the federal authorities in dealing with the floods.

A mountain lake lock burst in the Berchtesgaden region, causing the water to race into a sparsely populated valley below.

And Rosenheim’s Mangfall River could also rise to record levels, according to a city spokesman. Several districts there have already been evacuated.

In Saxony-Anhalt the situation was also critical along the Saale and Weiße Elster rivers. “Things are particularly dramatic near Wetterzeube,” said state premier Reiner Haseloff on Sunday. The Weiße Elster there could see the worst flooding since 1924.”

The high water has also halted shipping traffic on large sections of the Rhine, Main and Neckar rivers. Trains in southern and lower Bavaria are disrupted, including a main connection between Munich and Salzburg, Austria.

DPA/AFP/The Local/mry

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

WILDFIRES

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.

READ MORE:

SHOW COMMENTS