Storm disaster – Germany: Merkel visits flood victims

In the case of new storms, the district of Berchtesgadener Land in Upper Bavaria declared a disaster late on Saturday evening. Huge amounts of rain also fell in Saxon Switzerland. On Sunday, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) wants to visit the hardest hit areas in the Eifel.

Merkel will get an idea of ​​the situation in the community of Schuld, which was hit particularly hard by the storm disaster, said the state chancellery in Mainz. Afterwards (2.30 p.m.) a press statement is planned in Adenau – together with Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) and other Rhineland-Palatinate ministers.

After the devastating water has gradually withdrawn from many flood areas in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, the search for fatalities and injuries continues in the rubble.

Huge rainfall caused heavy flooding in parts of Saxony on Saturday. In Saxon Switzerland, several localities of cities and municipalities were no longer accessible. Neustadt, Sebnitz, Bad Schandau, Reinhardtsdorf-Schöna and Gohrisch are particularly affected, the district office informed in the evening. The railway line between Bad Schandau and Dečin in the Czech Republic was closed. “The situation is tense, but manageable,” said the situation center of the Ministry of the Interior in Dresden at the request of the German Press Agency.

The German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz meanwhile promised emergency aid in the hundreds of millions. “It takes a national show of strength,” said the SPD politician of “Bild am Sonntag”. On Wednesday in the cabinet he wanted to put two things on the table. “Firstly, an immediate aid, significantly more than 300 million euros were required for the last flood. So much will be needed now,” explained Scholz. “Second, we have to lay the foundations for a development program so that the destroyed houses, roads and bridges can be repaired quickly. As we know from the previous disaster, billions of euros are involved.”

The focus of the disaster in Rhineland-Palatinate is in the Ahrweiler district. According to the latest information from the Koblenz police, over 110 people were killed there alone. 670 people were injured. It is feared that more people will be killed and injured. “If you see the pictures, how it looks there, you can not rule out that more bodies will be found,” a spokesman had said. People were still missing.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, the number of confirmed fatalities on Saturday evening was 45, including four firefighters. North Rhine-Westphalia Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU), who visited the disaster area in Erftstadt with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Saturday, promised direct aid for the people affected and promised that “money would be paid out very unbureaucratically”. Steinmeier had called for solidarity and donations for the victims. “The willingness to support has to continue, both large and small,” he said. Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has announced that he will be in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate for Monday.

After torrential rain, the fire brigade in the Berchtesgadener Land district in Upper Bavaria had been in continuous operation with around 500 emergency services since Saturday evening. The district has declared a disaster due to the storm. Two people died in the flood area. In the event of a death, however, it is still unclear whether it is related to the flood, said the spokeswoman for the Berchtesgadener Land district office, Alexandra Rothenbuchner.

The situation is dramatic, said a spokesman for the integrated control center in Traunstein. The water shoots from the mountains, at the same time the water levels of the river Ache rose. The places particularly affected were Berchtesgaden, Bischofswiesen, Schönau am Königssee, Marktschellenberg and Ramsau in the far south-east of Bavaria. There the water overflowed in places and flooded streets. Slopes slipped. Individual houses therefore had to be cleared, said Rothenbuchner. “Emergency calls are constantly coming in,” said a police spokesman in Rosenheim.

The media reported record water levels on the Ache – by 10 p.m. they were already around 3.75 meters. Pictures show streets that turn into raging brooks. People wade knee-deep in the water. The fire brigade is on duty every few hundred meters, reports an eyewitness. Tractors cleared debris. Sometimes the water is up to 50 centimeters high.

Likewise, in Chamerau in the Upper Palatinate, the Roßbach overflowed its banks due to heavy rain. A building was protected from the water with sandbags, said a police spokesman. In the entire district, there were five more fire services due to full basements or flooded streets.

In Passau, the water levels in the rivers continue to rise every hour. As a precaution, the police towed cars from parking lots on the Danube, a spokeswoman said on Sunday. Neighboring residents failed to repark their vehicles despite flood warnings. “If we don’t tow them away, they’ll swim to Austria,” said the police spokeswoman. According to the flood intelligence service, the level of the Danube had risen by almost two meters to 7.80 meters over the course of Saturday. The water level of the Inn rose from 3.30 to 5.40 meters in the past twelve hours.

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