German floods leave hundreds missing and many homes without electricity
Germany has experienced some of the worst flooding in two decades. In one region, hundreds are still missing.
Over a hundred people are now feared dead in Germany and hundreds missing as swollen rivers caused by record rainfall across western Europe swept through towns and villages, leaving cars upended, houses destroyed and people stranded on rooftops.
Thousands of volunteers are helping to clear out debris, the German army has been called in to help, soldiers stacking sandbags against the front doors of the remaining homes in case the rains start again.
As the water started to recede, stunned residents in the worst affected towns inspected what was left of their homes and neighbourhoods.
In the town of Schuld, houses were reduced to piles of debris and broken beams. Roads were blocked by wreckage and fallen trees and fish flapped and gasped on puddles of water in the middle of the street.
“We have had two or three days of constant rain. Or maybe four, I lost track,” said Klaus Radermacher, who has been living in Schuld for 60 years.
“I saw the pizza store getting flooded, half an hour later the bakery was flooded. There is a camping ground up there, so caravans and campervans came floating past, gas tanks. We were powerless against it. It came so fast, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Eighteen people died and dozens were unaccounted for around the wine-growing region of Ahrweiler, in Rhineland-Palatinate state, police said, after the Ahr river that flows into the Rhine broke its banks and brought down half a dozen houses.
Armin Laschet, the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, blamed the extreme weather on global warming during a visit to a hard-hit area.
“We will be faced with such events over and over, and that means we need to speed up climate protection measures… because climate change isn’t confined to one state,” he said.
Experts say that climate change is expected to increase the frequency of extreme weather events, but linking any single event to global warming is complicated.
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