- The full extent of the natural disaster in western Germany is still not foreseeable.
- More than 100 people have died and several dozen are still missing. The search and rescue work continues on Saturday.
- On Saturday night, a dam on the Rur, a tributary of the Meuse, broke. Rescue workers therefore had to bring 700 people to safety.
- The Ministry of Defense has triggered a military disaster alert because of the emergency.
Immense damage in the disaster area
As of Saturday morning, 108 deaths were counted as a result of the floods. According to official information, at least 65 people were killed in Rhineland-Palatinate and 43 in North Rhine-Westphalia. It is to be feared that the number of victims will continue to increase, said North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) on Friday after a special session of the State Cabinet.
Dead in Belgium – evacuations in Maastricht
The death toll related to severe weather in the eastern Belgium has risen to at least 20. In addition, other people are missing, as the Belgian news agency Belga reported. In addition, 21,000 households are currently without electricity.
Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden had made use of the EU’s civil protection mechanism, and France, Italy and Austria had offered help.
The southern dutch The city of Maastricht has called on around 10,000 citizens to leave their homes and to get to safety from the floods. It is expected that at night the Meuse will overflow so strongly that residential areas will be flooded.
The city of Roermond also evacuated districts, and several hundred people had to leave their homes. The water levels of the rivers in the Netherlands swell quickly due to the water masses. The army sent several hundred soldiers to help.
Numerous people are still missing in both federal states. Since cell phone and telephone networks no longer work, many people can no longer be reached. According to information from energy companies, around 100,000 people are also without electricity.
The situation remains tense in many places. The Ministry of Defense triggered a military disaster alert because of the emergency. This means that decisions can be made more quickly by those responsible on the spot, explained a ministry spokesman. There are already more than 850 soldiers in action. The rescue and clean-up work continues in the disaster areas.
The state governments of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, among others, provided advice on help for the people and companies affected. The federal government wants to decide on construction aid for citizens and municipalities in the coming week, as a spokesman for the finance ministry said.
Huge holes in the ground
In Erftstadt-Blessem southwest of Cologne there were landslides of enormous proportions on Friday, huge holes in the ground formed. Houses were washed away and collapsed. “There are fatalities,” said a spokeswoman for the Cologne district government. The situation was still confusing at noon. The responsible district administrator of the Rhein-Erft district, Frank Rock, said on the television station ntv that he still had no concrete number of fatalities or missing persons. 50 people were rescued with boats. The tide came very quickly. Sinks would have been under water within ten minutes. There was hardly any time to warn people. “It’s a catastrophic situation like we’ve never seen here,” said Rock.
According to police reports, just under 100 people are missing in Rhineland-Palatinate, Interior Minister Roger Lewentz said on Deutschlandfunk in the morning. According to the Federal Office for Population and Disaster Protection (BBK) in Bonn, 23 cities and districts are affected by floods in North Rhine-Westphalia.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, the Ahrweiler district is the focus of the disaster. In the village of Schuld an der Ahr alone, with 700 inhabitants, several houses were swept away by the masses of water, and numerous other buildings, some severely damaged. There was also considerable damage in other regions of the Eifel as well as in the Trier-Saarburg district.
Steinmeier comes to the disaster area in North Rhine-Westphalia
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is coming to the Rhein-Erft district in North Rhine-Westphalia, which has been particularly hard hit by the flood, on Saturday, Angela Merkel is planning a visit to the heavily devastated region in Rhineland-Palatinate soon. At a video conference with NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) on Friday, she promised short-term and long-term support from the federal government for the people affected.
According to the Office of the Federal President, Steinmeier and Laschet visited Erftstadt at noon, where numerous houses and cars had been washed away in the past few days. He wants to get an idea of the current situation in the fire brigade control center and talk to rescue workers.
Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) said that federal aid was needed to rebuild the affected areas. “It is very clear that this disaster cannot be overcome by the country alone, and certainly not by the municipalities,” she emphasized in the ZDF “Morgenmagazin”.
- On the rivers and lakes in Baden-Wuerttemberg the experts expected rising water levels on Friday. In some regions, roads were again closed, in the Allgäu a residential area was under water. The German Weather Service warned of heavy rain and thunderstorms, for example in Upper Swabia.
- The water level can rise quickly, especially in smaller bodies of water. The State Office for the Environment Rhineland-Palatinate reported in its early warning system until Saturday morning for almost the entire state a low flood risk. In the region around Altenahr and in parts of the Eifel, isolated floods are still possible, it said.
- In North Rhine-Westphalia falling water levels are expected, but this will sometimes only happen slowly. The water levels were often still above the warning thresholds, for example at Erft, Ruhr, Rur, Sieg and Weser, announced the State Environment Agency. According to the assessment of the Waterways and Shipping Office (WSA) in Freiburg, the persistently strong flood on the Upper Rhine will keep the ships off for several days.
Train traffic in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate is still severely affected. Deutsche Bahn announced on Friday that numerous routes are completely closed or can only be used to a limited extent. “The water masses severely damaged the tracks, points, signaling technology, train stations and signal boxes in many parts of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.” In North Rhine-Westphalia alone, tracks over a length of around 600 kilometers are affected.
In long-distance traffic, among other things, the Cologne-Wuppertal-Hagen-Dortmund section is currently not passable. Prime Minister Laschet said on Thursday in the ZDF program “Maybrit Illner” that ways must be found to get roads, bridges and other infrastructure going again very quickly. The country will help, but “a great national effort is also needed so that the worst things can be eliminated quickly”. Chancellor Angela Merkel also pledged help.
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