Boris Rossler / AFP
The death toll from floods in Western Europe rose to more than 180 on Sunday after rescuers dug deep into the rubble left by receding waters. The torrential rains fueled new floods in southeastern Germany and Austria, albeit not on the scale of last week’s devastating attack.
Police put the death toll in the hard-hit Ahrweiler district in western Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate state at more than 110 and said they feared the number would continue to rise. And in neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, 46 people were confirmed dead, including four firefighters. And the Belgium It confirmed 27 casualties.
On Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in the village of Schuld, located on a bend of the flood-ravaged Ahr River, to see the damage for herself. Her visit comes after Germany’s president flew to the region on Saturday and made clear it would need long-term support.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said he would propose an immediate aid package at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, telling Bild am Sonntag newspaper that more than 300 million euros ($354 million) would be needed. He said that officials should start preparing a rebuilding program that, based on the experience of previous floods, would be in the billions of euros.
Boris Rossler / AFP
Pope Francis offered a prayer For flood victims and to support “everyone’s efforts to help those who have suffered severe damage”.
“I express my closeness to the people of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, which were subjected to catastrophic floods,” he said in his first public appearance before the faithful in St. Peter’s Square after a major operation. “May the Lord welcome the dead and comfort the family.”
Ahrweiler district officials have asked people not to make any further in-kind donations at this time. Police said a “high willingness to help” had left clothes and food storage facilities full.
Although rain stopped in the hardest-hit regions of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, storms and torrential rain continued in other parts of western and central Europe. There were flooding Saturday night in the German-Czech border region, across the country where floods hit last week, and in the southeast corner of Germany and over the border in Austria.
About 130 people were evacuated from their homes in the Berchtesgaden region of Germany after the Ashe River swelled. At least one person was killed. The railway line to Berchtesgaden was closed.
A sudden flood swept through the neighboring Austrian town of Hallen late Saturday evening, but there were no reports of injuries. To the west, parts of the town of Kufstein were flooded. Heavy rains and storms caused severe damage in several parts of Austria.
Climate scientists say The link between extreme weather and global warming Unequivocally, the urgent need to do something about climate change is undeniable.
Scientists can’t yet be sure if climate change caused the floods, but they insist that it is certainly exacerbating the severe weather that has emerged around the world.