Victims undergo massive ; Residents in the German and Belgian regions affected by the recent floods have begun extensive work to clean up their neighborhoods, as water begins to recede.
- The extent of the damage is clear, as rescue workers continue to search for victims.
- At least 180 people have died, and many more are missing. The death toll could rise and continue.
- Floods continued to wreak havoc in parts of Europe on Saturday.
Emergency services evacuated people from homes in the Austrian district of Salzburg, where floodwaters sank on the streets of one city.
Victims undergo massive
Meanwhile in Germany, concern has spread south to the Upper Bavaria region, where heavy rains have washed away basements and roads. In the west German authorities said the Steinbachtal dam was in danger of collapsing after residents were evacuated from homes downstream.
- European leaders blamed climate change for floods, which also affected Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Experts say that global warming may be causing more heavy rainfall. The earth has warmed about 1.2C since the start of the industrial era.
- At least 156 people are now known to have died in German floods, including four firefighters.
- The provinces of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and the Saarland were the worst affected.
- Thousands of people were reported missing during the floods, but most have been counted.
In the town of Bad Neuenahr in the Rhineland-Palatinate in the Ahrweiler district, residents were determined to launch a clean-up operation, shoveling mud and removing debris.
But the work is huge, as many businesses and livelihoods in the city have been flooded, electricity and gas have been cut off and communications have been destroyed.
- “Everything is ruined, you don’t see the beauty of the place,” wine shop owner Michael Lang told Reuters.
- Baker Baker Gregor Degen told AFP he had gathered a group of neighbors to start clearing mud and debris.
He was ready to go to work the next day after the floods but the water was too high, he said. More than 110 people have been killed and 670 injured in Ahrweiler, police said.
- In North Rhine-Westphalia paramedics have begun evacuating abandoned vehicles on the flooded B265.
- Fire spokesman Elmar Mettke said the vehicles were inspected and the bodies were still submerged in water.
- Meanwhile a senior German politician has been criticized for laughing while visiting the affected areas.
Armin Laschet, who will replace outgoing outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel, was caught on camera apparently joking with her colleagues as President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed sympathy for the victims.
- Mr Laschet later wrote on Twitter that he regretted his behavior, but critics and politicians were quick to dismiss him.
- “Laschet laughs when the world cries,” Bild newspaper reported on its website.
- Mrs Merkel herself is expected to visit Schuld village, described by one of the residents as a “war zone”, on Sunday.
- In Belgium, the organization has been sent to four of the 10 provinces of the country to help organize and evacuate people. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has declared July 20 as national mourning day.
- He said the floods – which have affected at least 27 people in Belgium – could be “the worst disaster in our country”.
Rescuers from France, Italy, and Austria have been dispatched to the town of Liege, where residents were evacuated after the catastrophic floods. Meanwhile in the Netherlands, thousands of people fled their homes in the province of Limburg as floodwaters flooded towns and across the deck.
- But water was running low in the southern town of Maastricht and nearby towns, where residents were able to return to their homes on Friday.
How does climate change cause flooding?
Global warming causes water evaporation, leading to an increase in the amount of rain and snow each year. At the same time, warmer climates mean that they can absorb more moisture – which also increases rainfall. Instead of watering the plants, the torrential rains are causing floods, as we see in Northern Europe now.