Northern Europe hit by floods

Northern Europe hit by floods
Northern Europe hit by floods

Floods, torrential rains: several regions of northern Europe in Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands found themselves with their feet in water on Saturday due to bad weather. The damage is already expected to be ‘considerable’ in places.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz traveled during the day to Saarland, a German region bordering France and Luxembourg, the most affected in the country by the flooding of several rivers following very heavy rains on Friday and in the night from Friday to Saturday.

‘We can observe here the violence that nature can cause and the extent to which we must prepare for such events,’ he told the press, on the sidelines of a visit in rubber boots to one of the areas the most flooded.

“Saarland has been facing an emergency situation for 36 hours,” declared the head of the regional government, Anke Rehlinger. This region had not experienced such flooding for around thirty years.

After a dike broke in the town of Quierschied, a power station had to be shut down, according to the daily Bild.

Hundreds of rescuers

Around 850 firefighters and members of civil protection, supported by several thousand volunteers, are mobilized in Saarland and neighboring affected regions in southwest Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Baden-Württemberg) to clean the streets or empty flooded cellars. The authorities speak of ‘considerable’ damage and Chancellor Olaf Scholz has promised the ‘solidarity’ of the entire nation.

Germany remains traumatized by terrible floods in July 2021, already in the southwest of the country, particularly in the Ahr river valley, which left 183 dead and tens of billions of euros in damage.

Torrential rains also affected border countries, Belgium, the Netherlands and France, as well as Luxembourg.

The Liège region in eastern Belgium experienced flooding with some 550 requests for intervention, particularly for water pumping, according to Governor Hervé Jamar on Saturday morning. The water level was nevertheless falling everywhere on Saturday.

In the commune of Fourons (north-east), the water rose ‘up to chest height’ in certain houses, according to mayor Joris Gaens, quoted by the Belga press agency. ‘These are the worst floods in the history of the Fourons,’ he added. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo was due to go there on Saturday afternoon.

Across the border, in the Dutch province of Limburg, two campsites were evacuated on Saturday morning due to the risk of flooding.

‘Improvement’ in France

In France, the Moselle department, in the north-east of the country, bordering German Saarland, was also affected by abundant rainfall: ‘the equivalent of more than a month of rain fell in less than 24 hours’, indicated the prefecture.

More than 1,000 firefighters and 642 engines were mobilized to respond to the emergency, according to state services. Nevertheless, the situation is ‘improving’, said the prefecture. The A4 motorway, in the Paris – Strasbourg direction, however, remains cut, as do several departmental roads.

‘All the relocated people have been able to return to their homes, now everyone is cleaning. It is mainly individuals who have a lot of mud in the cellars, and we also have a small bridge which has given way,’ the mayor of Sierck-les-bains, Helen Lambard-Hammond, told AFP.

Take warnings seriously

The German climatologist Stefan Rahmstorf, who participated in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), questioned the insufficiency of mobilization in the face of warming.

‘If we do not take seriously the warnings of climate scientists for decades and vote for politicians who drag on climate protection, we should not be surprised by the floods,’ he said. he writes on his X account (formerly Twitter).




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