The devastating floods in western Germany have claimed the lives of at least 165 people, according to a new report released on Monday, while many people are still missing.
In the region of Rhineland-Palatinate, the most affected by the disaster, “the number of dead is now at 117”, against 112 previously counted, “and there are 749 injured”, said Verena Scheuer, a spokesperson for the Koblenz police.
Failed warning systems?
In North Rhine-Westphalia, the latest report on Sunday reported “at least” 47 dead, while one death was to be deplored in Bavaria, in the south of the country, affected by significant floods this weekend .
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is due to visit the affected areas on Monday, including Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, in one of the valleys most affected by the floods. The conservative minister is targeted by a debate on a possible failure of warning systems for the population in the face of the murderous results of the floods. Germany remains in shock at this biggest natural disaster in the country’s recent history.
A “surrealist” devastation
On Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel went to the village of Schuld, not far from Bonn, where the Ahr river, transformed into a furious torrent, destroyed part of the historic center. “The German language is struggling to find the words to describe the devastation caused,” said the Chancellor, describing a “surrealist” devastation promising the support of the federal state.
From Wednesday, emergency aid of at least 300 million euros will be presented by the government, before a vast reconstruction program of several billion euros. Global warming has been blamed as much by experts as by politicians. Angela Merkel called on Sunday to make a “very big effort” to accelerate climate policies.