Storm Chaos in the West : Numerous people killed by floods

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Thu 15th Jul, 2021

According to the latest information, at least 19 people have died in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia in connection with the severe storms. The district of Euskirchen in the south of North Rhine-Westphalia spoke of eight deaths, according to initial findings of the authorities. This was announced by the administrative authority on Thursday on its Facebook page. In several places, the situation is very critical, it said. "Human rescues are taking place," it continueda. In some cases, there is no access to the places. In the district area, communications were largely down, it said. Also, the fire department emergency call 112 and the district administration could not be reached, it said. Because of the connection problems, the district is currently only able to provide information on an irregular basis.

In the district of Ahrweiler in the Eifel region, at least four people died, police confirmed to the F.A.Z. In North Rhine-Westphalia, two firefighters were killed in action in Altena and Werdohl. In Cologne, two people were found dead in flooded basements. Two men also died in flooded cellars in Solingen and the Unna district, and another death was reported in Rheinbach. The district of Ahrweiler, a good 50 kilometers south of Bonn, was particularly affected by the floods. The police could not provide the exact circumstances of death of the four people. According to the report, they were found in several places. In the night to Thursday, six houses had already collapsed due to flooding and continuous rain. Twenty-five more are in danger of collapsing. Images from Schuld, where about 660 people live, testify to devastation.

The situation in the district remains unclear, said a police spokesman. A spokeswoman for the district administration in Ahrweiler was also not yet able to provide any precise information. It is certain that the entire district is affected, several places are to be cut off from the outside world.

According to the police, 70 people are still missing. A police spokesman told the F.A.Z. that the number had risen recently because acquaintances and friends had turned to the authorities for help. In Altenahr in the district of Ahrweiler, residents had fled to the roofs of their homes, many still had to be rescued. In Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, a large part of the city center is flooded.

Heavy rain caused flooding, high water and power outages in many parts of North Rhine-Westphalia and in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. In many regions, roads were flooded, cellars filled up and rail and road traffic was disrupted. Belgium and Luxembourg were also affected by the floods. According to the forecast of the German Weather Service (DWD), the extreme continuous rain should subside in the night to Thursday. But in many places, the cleanup work is now likely to begin.

Rhineland-Palatinate's Prime Minister Malu Dreyer has expressed her dismay after the flood disaster in the Eifel. "The storm has hit our state hard. I fear with all those who are in danger," the SPD politician wrote on Twitter. She thanked all the helpers and emergency workers who tirelessly fought the masses of water with great dedication. This Thursday, North Rhine-Westphalia's Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) plans to visit Hagen, a city in the Ruhr region that has been particularly affected by flooding. In Rhineland-Palatinate, schools remain closed in the Vulkaneifel district and in the local community of Kordel in the Trier-Saarburg district.

Low "Bernd" determines the weather in Germany with warm and humid air masses. According to the DWD, it will remain changeable in the next few days with showers and thunderstorms, sometimes with heavy rain.In Hückeswagen in the Oberberg district, the Bevertalsperre overflowed due to the heavy rainfall. The water was currently running uncontrolled over the edge of the dam wall, a spokesman for the control center announced early Thursday morning. More than 1000 people had to leave their homes. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the dams of dams are under pressure.

Deutsche Bahn advised all rail travelers to avoid North Rhine-Westphalia as far as possible. "If possible, please postpone travel to and from NRW until the coming days," it said in a statement. Service was suspended on numerous rail lines Wednesday. Among other things, Deutsche Bahn reported delays and cancellations of trains between Cologne and Düsseldorf and between Cologne and Wuppertal. Lines between Cologne and Koblenz were unavailable on both sides of the Rhine. ICE trains between Frankfurt and Brussels only ran between Frankfurt and Cologne.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, the Vulkaneifel district declared a disaster situation after heavy rainfall and flooding. "The situation is very serious, we have many flooded roads and villages that are no longer accessible," said District Administrator Julia Gieseking on Wednesday evening in Daun. Schools in the district are to remain closed on Thursday. "I appeal to the population that everyone stay at home and protect themselves from the water masses," Gieseking said.

The president of the Supervisory and Service Authority (ADD), Thomas Linnertz, said Wednesday that he had rushed to the Volcanic Eifel to get an overview. He said the situation was also difficult in neighboring counties due to heavy rain and flooding. The fire and disaster control inspector of the Vulkaneifel district, Harald Schmitz, said there had been such heavy water masses "that complete streams were flowing through places." In Hillesheim, he said, part of the retirement home had been evacuated. "We expect the situation to last longer, and that's why we called for assistance." Apart from cuts, however, there have been no reports of major injuries to those affected so far, he said.

Image by Analogicus


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