#AceWeatherReport – July.17: The death toll from devastating floods in Germany reached 133 on Saturday, police said, bringing the total number of those killed in Europe to 153: Rescuers resumed the search for survivors with hundreds still missing on Saturday morning as desperate families released pictures of their loved ones.
GERMANY: Death toll after Europe flash floods hits 133 as Rescuers continue hunt for survivors Such is the scale of the human tragedy that economic cost-counting has barely begun, though one official said bluntly that total will certainly be in the ‘billions’ according to MailOnline
It is just the latest episode in the evolving weather crisis in central Europe, with more than 130 people killed across Germany, marking the country’s deadliest floods since at least 1962 when more than 300 people were killed in flooding in Hamburg.
At least another 23 people were killed in neighbouring Belgium where a ‘tsunami-like’ torrent of water inundated parts of Leige and Verviers, causing the Meuse and Vesdre rivers to burst their banks.
There are fears that toll could rise considerably with hundreds of people still missing, mostly from the hard-hit Ahrweiler region, south of Bonn, where whole villages were destroyed as the Ahr river broke its banks.
Names, pictures, and details of the last contact with ten people who are unaccounted for were published in German outlet Bild as part of a campaign to help find the missing.
A family were among the missing on Saturday morning. Pictures of Hans Neufeld, 71, wife Ella, 59, and their son Frank, 22, were submitted by the couple’s first son Harry, 30.
He said they were last seen at home in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler in the early hours of Thursday, when flood waters started rising significantly. ‘Since then, there has been no trace,’ he said.
Karl-Heinz Zimmermann, a 93-year-old grandfather from Bad Neuenahr was reported missing by his granddaughter Sandy Zimmermann. She said she last spoke to him around 10pm on Thursday evening.
‘He wanted to go to bed normally, and didn’t feel threatened by the water’, she said. ‘But now the whole house is full of mud and nobody can be reached there. I tried to call him all day – over and over again. The fire brigade doesn’t know where he is either.’
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, and vice Prime Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne, visited the disaster zone in Belgium on Saturday.
It comes after a landslide in the flood-damaged town of Blessem, near Cologne, killed ‘several’ people on Friday as Germany’s worst flooding crisis in decades continued to worsen
A second family – Nicole Berg, Patrick Berg, and their son Dennis – were also among the missing. Their pictures were submitted to Bild by Nicole’s sister Katja who said her sibling was last online on Wednesday 10pm.
Gerhard Hubner, 60 was also among the missing. His picture was submitted by housewife Christina Drothen, 36, who said he was last seen at his house in Ahrweiler on Wednesday evening.
Julia Dillenburger, 39, from Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, was another. She was last heard from in the early hours of Thursday after she escaped her basement flat for her neighbours apartment on the first floor.
Husband and wife Aida Maria, 74, and Klaus Wolfgang Huber, 76, were last heard from on Wednesday evening. Aida, who is Ecuadorian, has lived in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler since 2005. Her niece said there has been no sign of the pair since the flood.
Diana Janko, 60, was last seen a few days ago on Facebook video call. She recently told loved ones she wanted to go to the hospital, but has failed to pick up her phone for several days.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet visited Erftstadt fire department to get an overview of flooding in the region on Saturday.
‘A lot of people have lost everything they spent their lives building up — their possessions, their home, the roof over their heads,’ Steinmeier said after meeting rescue workers and others in the town of Erftstadt.
‘It may only be possible to clear up in weeks how much damage needs to be compensated,’ he said.
Steinmeier said that people in the affected areas are counting on continuing support.
‘Many people here in these regions have nothing left but their hope, and we must not disappoint this hope,’ he said.
Dutch caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited flooded parts of the city of Venlo on Friday.
He said the region faced ‘three disasters.’
‘First, there was corona, now these floods, and soon people will have to work on cleanup and recovery,’ he said. ‘It is disaster after disaster after disaster. But we will not abandon Limburg,’ the southern province hit by the floods.
His government has declared the flooding a state of emergency, opening up national funds for those affected.
It comes after thousands of villagers in western German prayed for a miracle on Friday night amid fears a nearby dam could collapse and inundate their homes with water.
The villages in the Euskirchen region, near the city of Bonn, were evacuated with 4,500 told to flee their homes after cracks started appearing in the dam holding back the nearby Steinbach reservoir.
Engineers warned the dam was dangerously close to collapse after a huge amount of water was dumped into the reservoir as three months’ worth of rain fell on the region in just one week, causing widespread devastation.
The dam is designed to vent excess water, but its drainage system has been blocked by debris including trees and rubble from destroyed buildings. The strain was clearly visible Friday as huge cracks appeared in the soil reinforcing the front of the dam.
By Saturday, waters were receding across much of the affected regions, laying bare the extent of the damage.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier planned to travel Saturday to Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne, where a harrowing rescue effort unfolded on Friday as people were trapped when the ground gave way. At least three houses and part of a mansion in the town’s Blessem district collapsed.
The German military used armoured vehicles on Saturday to clear away cars and trucks overwhelmed by the floodwaters on a nearby road, some of which were still at least partly submerged. Officials feared that some people did not manage to escape in Erftstadt, but on Saturday morning no casualties had been confirmed.
In the Ahrweiler area, police warned people of a potential risk from downed power lines and urged curious visitors to stay away.
Around 700 people were evacuated from part of the German town of Wassenberg, on the Dutch border, after the breach of a dike on the Rur river. Volunteers across Germany have collected clothes and taken them emergency accommodation for flood victims.
Train lines and roads remained blocked in many areas of eastern Belgium. The national railway service said traffic would start returning to normal on Monday.
Parts of northern France were also underwater by Saturday morning, following days of heavy rainfall.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday she was planning to visit the disaster zone, hours after King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium visited Pepinster, where the water has continued to rise.
The visit comes just hours after a landslide in the town of Blessem, near Cologne, killed an unknown number of people when waterlogged ground collapsed into a nearby gravel pit – taking homes, cars, and families with it.
Helicopters circled overhead following the collapse, looking for anyone left to save. It is thought 55 people were evacuated from the town overnight, but an unknown number returned in the morning to check the damage when the landslide struck.
Such is the scale of the devastation and human tragedy that economic cost-counting has barely even begun, though one German official said bluntly that the cost is certainly in the ‘billions’.
A bird’s eye view of Valkenburg, the Netherlands as the shocking floods in Europe continued to sweep through the continent on Friday
Authorities in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate said 63 people had died there, including 12 residents of an assisted living facility for disabled people in the town of Sinzig 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 figure could increase.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was ‘stunned’ by the devastation caused by the flooding and pledged support to the families of those killed and to cities and towns facing significant damage.
‘In the hour of need, our country stands together,’ Steinmeier said in a statement. ‘It’s important that we show solidarity for those from whom the flood has taken everything.’
Rescuers sought to save people trapped in their homes in the German town of Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne. Regional authorities said several people had died after their houses collapsed when the ground beneath them sank suddenly. Aerial photos showed what appeared to be a massive sinkhole.
‘We managed to get 50 people out of their houses last night,’ county administrator Frank Rock said. ‘We know of 15 people who still need to be rescued.’
Speaking to German broadcaster n-tv, Rock said authorities had no precise number yet for how many had died in the flash floods that turned roads into wild raging torrents, ripping up cobblestones, collapsing homes and flipping parked cars into piles of rubble.
‘One has to assume that under the circumstances some people didn’t manage to escape,’ he said.
Authorities were still trying to account for hundreds of people listed as missing, but cautioned that the high number could be due to duplicated reports and difficulties reaching people because of disrupted roads and phone service.
After Germany, where more than 100 people have died, Belgium was the hardest hit by the floods that caused homes to be ripped away.
Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden told the VRT network Friday that the country’s official confirmed death toll had grown to 20, with 20 other people still missing.
Water levels on the Meuse Rriver that runs from Belgium into the Netherlands remains critical, and several dikes were at risk of collapsing, Verlinden said.
Authorities in the southern Dutch town of Venlo evacuated 200 hospital patients due to the looming threat of flooding from the river.
Flash floods this week followed days of heavy rainfall in Western Europe. Thousands of people remained homeless in Germany after their houses were destroyed or deemed at-risk by authorities.
The governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, who is hoping to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel as the nation’s leader after Germany’s election on September 26, said the disaster had caused immense economic damage to the country’s most densely populated state.
‘The floods have literally pulled the ground from beneath many people’s feet,’ Gov. Armin Laschet said at a news conference. ‘They lost their houses, farms or businesses.’
Federal and state officials have pledged financial aid to the affect areas, which also includes the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where at least 60 people died and entire villages were destroyed.
Malu Dreyer, the governor of Rhineland-Palatinate state, said the disaster showed the need to speed up efforts to curb global warming.
She accused Laschet and Merkel’s center-right Union bloc of hindering efforts to achieve greater greenhouse gas reductions in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and a major emitter of planet-warming gases.
‘Climate change isn’t abstract anymore. We are experiencing it up close and painfully,’ she told the Funke media group.
Steinmeier, the German president, echoed her calls for greater efforts to combat global warming.
‘Only if we decisively take up the fight against climate change will we be able to limit the extreme weather conditions we are now experiencing,’ he said.
Experts say such disasters could become more common in the future.
‘Some parts of Western Europe … received up to two months of rainfall in the space of two days. What made it worse is that the soils were already saturated by previous rainfall,’ World Meteorological Organization spokesperson Clare Nullis said.
While she said it was too soon to blame the floods and preceding heat wave on rising global temperatures, Nullis added: ‘Climate change is already increasing the frequency of extreme events. And many single events have been shown to be made worse by global warming.’
Defense Ministry spokesman Arne Collatz said the German military had deployed over 850 troops to help with flood effeorts but the number is ‘rising significantly because the need is growing.’ He said the ministry had triggered a ‘military disaster alarm.’
Italy sent a civil protection officials, firefighters and rescue dinghies to Belgium to help in the search for missing people from the devastating floods.
In the southern Dutch province of Limburg, which also has been hit hard by flooding, troops piled sandbags to strengthen a 1.1-kilometer (0.7 mile) stretch of dike along the Maas River and police helped evacuate low-lying neighborhoods.
Caretaker Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the government was officially declaring flood-hit regions a disaster area, meaning businesses and residents are eligible for compensation. Dutch King Willem-Alexander visited the region Thursday night and called the scenes ‘heart-breaking.’
Meanwhile, sustained rainfall in Switzerland has caused several rivers and lakes to burst their banks. Public broadcaster SRF reported that a flash flood swept away cars, flooded basements and destroyed small bridges in the northern villages of Schleitheim und Beggingen late Thursday.
Erik Schulz, the mayor of the hard-hit German city of Hagen, 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Cologne, said there had been a wave of solidarity from other regions and ordinary citizens to help those affected by the floods.
‘We have many, many citizens saying `I can offer a place to stay, where can I go to help, where can I registered, where can I bring my shovel and bucket?’,’ he told n-tv. ‘The city is standing together and you can feel that.’
‘In less that 10 minutes, the water rose by almost a metre,’ said Isabelle Bervoets, surveying the wreckage of her restaurant in Grez-Doiceau, Belgium.
The Train river that passes through the small community is one of those that burst its banks following days of torrential rain.
At least 20 Belgians died and 19 are missing, with scores more fatalities in neighbouring Germany.
But the economic toll in the Brabant region is all too clear, along city riverfronts, blocked train tracks and drowned factories – as well as in Isabelle’s restaurant.
The ground is a sea of mud, there is a stench of sewage, bar stools are scattered everywhere, the fridge in the wine cellar is wrecked, and Isabelle’s frustration with local authorities is overflowing.
‘I’m pretty furious with the commune,’ the 53-year-old said. ‘It was some young folk who brought us sand bags. I called the town hall but they didn’t have any.’
Not far away, Amandine Bosquet is surveying the wreckage of her family home, stacking damp cardboard boxes. ‘Everything on the ground floor, we’ve lost,’ the young woman says.
- ‘Devastation’ –
Belgium’s King Philippe is due to visit the flooded region later in the day, and Prime Minister Alexander de Croos was to give a news conference.
Meanwhile the vast tide of mud and water is draining down the Train through the Brabant’s green but densely populated valleys, into the Dyle, the Meuse and on to the hard-hit Netherlands.
The region experienced flooding in 2002 and 2005.
‘But since then, we’ve seen nothing like it, and we’d never imagine it hitting us so quickly,’ says Bervoets.
Chaudfontaine, Theux, Verviers, Pepinster, Spa – dozens of cities, towns and villages have been hit.
Liege was threatened with evacuation of the town centre, but after splashing the top of its embankment, the Meuse failed to break its way into the city.
Cars lie in market squares, stacked up like damp firewood.
Scout camps were evacuated. A train derailed. Rescue helicopters and boats plucked up families and terrified pets and took them to safety.
Rescue teams have flown in from France, Italy and Austria to help the Belgian authorities.
Pepinster, a small town outside Verviers, bore the brunt of the disaster within Belgium, with the town centre turning into a river and more than a dozen houses collapsing.
‘It’s a disaster, a tsunami,’ the local mayor, Philippe Godin, told AFP.
A day after the wave rushed through there’s no electricity, no drinking water, unreliable mobile reception and, Godin adds: ‘You have to think of the people who have lost everything, their memories. It’s terrifying.’
Heavy rainfall has caused extensive damage in Roermond, the Netherlands, but no casualties have been reported
#AceWeatherDesk report ……Published: July.17: 2021:
Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com