Sunday, November 28, 2021

Rescuers rushed to the rescue as the number of floods in Europe exceeded 120

By Frank Jordans

BERLIN (AP) – Emergency workers in West Germany and Belgium rushed to rescue hundreds of people in danger on Friday, or the death toll from the devastating floods rose to more than 120.

Authorities in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate say 63 people have died in the town of Sinzig, including 12 residents living in aid for the disabled, who were surprised by a sudden rush of water from the nearby Ahr River. In neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia, state officials put the death toll at 43, but warned that the death toll could rise further.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was “shocked” by the devastation caused by the floods and promised significant damage to the families of the victims and to the towns and cities.

“In times of need, our country stands together,” Steinmeier said in a statement. “We must show solidarity with those for whom the floods have taken everything.”

Rescuers tried to rescue people trapped in their home in the German city of Erfattad, southwest of Cologne. Regional authorities said several people died after their homes collapsed when the ground beneath them suddenly sank. Shows aerial photos that appear to be a large sinkhole.

“We were able to evacuate 50 people last night,” said County Administrator Frank Rock. “We know of 15 people who still need to be rescued.”

Speaking to German broadcaster N-TV, Rock said authorities still did not have an exact figure for how many people died in the flash floods, which turned roads into flood-ravaged roads, scattered boulders, demolished houses and dumped parking lots into rubble.

“One has to assume that some people were not able to escape in the situation,” he said.

Authorities were trying to get an account for the hundreds of people listed as missing, but warned that this high number could be due to fake reports and the difficulty of reaching people due to disrupted road and phone services.

After Germany, where more than 100 people died, Belgium suffered the most damage after the floods, which tore down homes. Belgian Interior Minister Anelis Verlinden told the VRT network on Friday that the country’s officials had confirmed that the death toll had risen to 20, with another 20 missing.

Virgilanden said the water level in the Muse River from Belgium to the Netherlands remained critical and several dykes were at risk of breaking, Verlinden said. Authorities in the southern Dutch city of Venlo have evacuated 200 hospital patients due to the risk of flooding from the river.

A few days of heavy rains have begun in Western Europe following the floods this week. Thousands of people are homeless in Germany after authorities destroyed their homes or deemed them at risk.

The governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, who hopes to make Chancellor Angela Merkel the country’s leader after the September 2 election, says the disaster has caused extensive economic damage to the country’s most densely populated state.

“The floods have literally dragged the soil from under the feet of many,” the governor said. Armin said at a press conference on the body. “They have lost their homes, farms or businesses.”

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Federal and state officials have promised financial assistance to the affected areas, including the Rhineland-Palatinate state, where at least 0 people have died and entire villages have been destroyed.

Rhineland-Palatinate state Governor Malu Dryer said the disaster showed the need to step up efforts to prevent global warming. He accused Lachett and Merkel of blocking efforts to achieve greater greenhouse gas emissions against Germany, Europe’s largest economy and a major emitter of global warming gas.

“Climate change is no longer abstract. We are experiencing it closely and painfully, ”he told Fanke Media Group.

German President Steinmeier has reported his call for more efforts to combat global warming.

“Only if we make a decision against climate change will we be able to limit the extreme weather we are experiencing now.”

Experts say such disasters could become more common in the future.

“Some parts of Western Europe have been raining for two months in those two days. To make matters worse, the soil was already saturated with previous rainfall, ”said Claire Nulis, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization.

Although he said it was too soon to blame for the rise in flooding and the previous heat waves of global warming, Nulis added: “Climate change is already increasing the frequency of extreme events. And many single events have been shown to be worse in global warming. “

Defense Ministry spokesman Arn Koltz said the German army had deployed more than 650 troops to help with the flood disaster, but that the number was “growing significantly as demand increased.” The ministry has set up a “military disaster alarm,” he said.

Italy sent a civil protection officer, firefighters and rescue dinghies to assist in the search for those missing in the devastating floods in Belgium.

In the southern Dutch province of Limburg, which has also been badly damaged by the floods, troops have thrown shells to strengthen the 1.1-kilometer (0.7-mile) stretch of land along the Mash River, and police have helped evacuate low-lying areas.

Caretaker Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the government was officially declaring flood-prone areas disaster areas, meaning businesses and residents were eligible for compensation. Dutch King Willem-Alexander visited the area on Thursday night and called the scene “heartbreaking”.

Meanwhile, torrential rains in Switzerland have caused several rivers and lakes to burst their banks. Public broadcaster SRF reported that a flash flood destroyed vehicles, flooded basements and small bridges north of Schleitheim & Begginsen late Thursday night.

Eric Schulz, mayor of the heavily damaged German city of Heigen, 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Cologne, said there was solidarity among other regions and civilians to help those affected by the floods.

“A lot of us, a lot of citizens have said, ‘Where can I get a place to stay, where can I go for help, where can I register, where can I get my shovel and bucket?’, He told N-TV.” The city stands together and You can feel it. “

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Associated Press writers Gir Moulson and Emily Sulthis of Berlin, Ruff Kessert of Brussels, Nicole Winfield of Rome, Angela Charlton of Paris, Mike Corder of The Hague and others have contributed to this report.

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