Nearly 80 dead - still many missing.
In western Germany, torrential rains turned rivers and streams into violent torrents.
Several dozen people died after the severe weather. Many people are missing. Politicians are rushing into the disaster area. Entire regions are devastated, places cut off from the outside world, houses washed away: at least 43 people have died as a result of bad weather in western Germany. Dozens of people are missing in Rhineland-Palatinate.
“We have never seen such a disaster. It's really devastating, ” Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) said in Mainz on Thursday. The situation is confused in many places in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia after the torrential rains. The roads were flooded, the cellars were full. Rescuers rescued the victims with the help of boats. Many sought refuge from the floods on trees and rooftops. Rescue helicopters were in service. It is difficult to reach the missing people because the mobile phone network has been partially cut, said Malu Dreyer.
Politicians headed for the disaster area. Armin Laschet (CDU), prime minister of the NRW and candidate chancellor of the CDU, saw the situation in Altena and Hagen. About 440 firefighters and technicians, 100 Bundeswehr agents went to Hagen to try to control the water masses. Laschet had interrupted a trip through southern Germany and also canceled his participation in the CSU close in Seeon, Bavaria.
Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has interrupted his vacation due to the floods. The Federal Minister of Finance and candidate for chancellor of the SPD and Malu Dreyer want to get an idea of the situation in the disaster area, as announced by the ministry in Berlin. Annalena Baerbock, candidate for the chancellery of the Greens, also returns from vacation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) thanked aid workers. "I am shocked by the disaster that so many people are enduring in the flood zones," Merkel said Thursday in a tweet from government spokeswoman Steffen Seibert. “My condolences go out to the families of the dead and missing. I sincerely thank the many tireless workers and forces. "The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has committed to assist countries affected by the floods.
According to Interior Minister Roger Lewentz (SPD), between 50 and 70 people were still missing. The climax of the bad weather is the Cercle d'Ahrweiler. The districts of Bitburg-Prüm, Vulkaneifel and Trèves-Saarburg are also strongly affected, leading to the closure of a large number of establishments such as schools.
On Thursday night, according to the Koblenz police, four houses were completely washed away and two other houses were half destroyed. Many other buildings are in danger of collapsing. The floods cut off several places from the outside world. About fifty people were rescued from the rooftops where they had taken refuge. In the Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prüm too, people were locked in their houses, unable to get out because the floods were so powerful. Residents of several municipalities have been victims of power cuts and restrictions on the supply of drinking water. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the situation also remains tense. After the heavy rains end, firefighters and other response forces are struggling in many places to cope with worsening flooding. Cologne police reported 20 deaths in the region. In addition to two dead found in Cologne, 15 have been reported so far in Euskirchen and three in Rheinbach, police said Thursday afternoon. Not all of the bodies have been found yet. "Statements on identity, age, whereabouts and circumstances of death will not be released by police to protect relatives," the officials said.
Previously, it had already been learned that people had died in other parts of North Rhine-Westphalia as a result of the storm. In Kamen (Unna district), a 77-year-old man died in the flooded basement of his house. In Solingen, an 82-year-old man died after falling into the flooded cellar. In addition, two firefighters died. A 52-year-old firefighter collapsed in a bad weather in Werdohl, Saooise, and died despite attempts at resuscitation. A few hours earlier, in Altena, in the Sauerland, a firefighter had drowned while saving a man.
“The risk of bad weather is decreasing.” Many rivers and streams in the Eifel, the Land of Bern, the Rhineland and the Sauerland caused flooding on Thursday. The roads were flooded, the cellars were full. German Weather Service (DWD) estimates that the peak of extreme precipitation in parts of Germany has been largely exceeded. DWD meteorologist Marco Manitta on Thursday expected "a slight improvement in weather conditions ." Although he There may still be "heavy point rains" , these are not as widespread as last night, Manitta of the German news agency said. According to Manitta, the heaviest rainfall occurred in a wide swath from Sauerland to the Luxembourg border, via the Land of Bern and the Eifel, the agglomeration of Cologne / Bonn. The land most affected was Rheinbach-Todenfeld (Rhein-Sieg-Kreis in North Rhine -West phalie with 158 millimeters of water over the 24 hour period.