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Flood death toll rises in Germany while several still missing

Flood death toll rises in Germany while several still missing

Five people have now been confirmed dead in ongoing floods in southern Germany. Emergency services are continuing the clean-up and searching for several missing residents.

Five confirmed dead following floods in southern Germany

Five people have been confirmed dead following heavy flooding in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, which forced thousands of residents to flee their homes.

In the Schorndorf area outside of Stuttgart, two people have been confirmed dead after being found in a flooded basement. A similar case in Bavaria has prompted emergency services to remind residents that basements and cellars are extremely dangerous during floods. Two firefighters involved in rescue operations have also been confirmed dead.

Rescue operations are still underway to find several missing people. Police reported on Tuesday that they had managed to save a woman who had been on a walk in Neu-Ulm and climbed a tree to escape flooding before getting stuck up the tree for 52 hours. Rescuers managed to find the 32-year-old with the help of a helicopter and drone.

Heavy rain travelling northeast from the Alps caused serious flooding in the two German states over the weekend. Thuringia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia, were also affected by moderate flooding.

The situation remains critical in the area surrounding the Danube River, with rescue operations expecting the death toll to rise further.

Bavarian government earmarks 100 million euros for flood aid

In response, the Bavarian government has announced it will deliver a 100-million-euro state aid package to help those affected by flooding. Affected households will be eligible to receive 5.000 euros for their household belongings and 10.000 for oil damage.

As the consequences of climate change become more tangible, climate experts in Germany expect flooding in the country to become more severe in the coming months and years. Speaking to Deutsche Welle, meteorologist at Leipzig University Johannes Quaas explained that floods are not necessarily becoming more regular, "But when they occur, they are now more extreme."

A nationwide, legally binding climate adaptation law means the German government has until September 30, 2025, to present strategies -  such as reinforcing windows and doors or giving rivers more spillover space - to protect cities and municipalities against extreme weather events.

But Quaas calls these adaptation strategies Sisyphean, given that the coalition government only aims to become greenhouse gas neutral by 2045. "As long as we don't reach net zero CO2 emissions, that adaptation will never be enough, because we always need to readapt to what then gets even more extreme," he told Deutsche Welle.

Thumb image credit: Heiko Kueverling / Shutterstock.com

Olivia Logan

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Olivia Logan

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