German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the flooding that has devastated parts of Europe as “terrifying” on Sunday (July 18) after the death toll across the region rose to 184 as a district of Bavaria was battered by the extreme weather.
Merkel promised swift financial aid after visiting one of the areas worst affected by the record rainfall and floods that have killed at least 157 in Germany alone in recent days, in the country’s worst natural disaster in almost six decades.
“It is terrifying,” she told residents of the small town of Adenau in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. “The German language can barely describe the devastation that’s taken place.”
The mayor of Schuld, Helmut Lussi, could not hold back his emotions as he spoke about the night of the floods.
“These floods have scarred the people in Schuld. Scars that will never be forgotten and are hard to understand. Because our life has changed from one day to the other. Excuse me, please the emotions are coming out,” Lussi said as aids consoled.
The devastation continued on Sunday when a district of Bavaria, southern Germany, was hit by flash floods that killed at least one person.
Roads were turned into rivers, some vehicles were swept away and swathes of land buried under thick mud in Berchtesgadener Land. Hundreds of rescue workers were searching for survivors in the district, which borders Austria.
The European floods, which began on Wednesday, have mainly hit the German states of Rhineland Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia as well as parts of Belgium. Entire communities have been cut off, without power or communications.
The German government will be readying more than 300 million euros ($354 million) in immediate relief and billions of euros to fix collapsed houses, streets and bridges, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
There could also be a 10,000 euro short-term payment for businesses affected by the impact of the floods as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told the paper.