Severe weather causes chaos in western Germany
Severe weather in western Germany has led to houses collapsing, with at least 19 people and 50 missing according to regional officials.
Heavy rain and flooding sweep through Germany
Severe weather has swept across Germany, with heavy rain and flooding causing chaos in the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia. The heavy rain caused rivers to burst their banks leading to heavy flooding. Several houses have collapsed and police report that at least 19 people have been killed and around 50 people are missing. “The storms hit our state hard,” the state premier of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer, said on Twitter. “I am worrying along with everyone who’s in danger,” she added. “I would like to thank all helpers, fire brigades and emergency services who tirelessly fight the deluge with great commitment.”
The state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, has cancelled a meeting in Bavaria to deal with the situation in his state. Local officials have appealed for people to stay in their homes, and stay on the higher floors if possible. Police have since set up an emergency phone line where people can report others missing and submit information that might help police in their search.
Weather causes houses to collapse
On Thursday, a police spokesperson in the city of Koblenz said that the stormy weather had caused several houses to collapse and reported at least four deaths in the nearby municipality of Schuld. Six houses reportedly collapsed in the early hours of Thursday morning and dozens of people are currently still missing, although it is unclear how many exactly. According to the police spokesperson, many of the people who were reported missing were on the roofs of the houses that were swept away by the floods. Police have since said that many other houses are also in danger of collapsing.
The entirety of the Ahrweiler district in the north of Rhineland-Palatinate has been affected by the weather. The flooding has made several places inaccessible and around 50 people had to be rescued from rooftops. Many people had to be rescued from the roofs of their caravans in Dorsel and other sites along the Ahr River. The district of Bitburg-Prüm was also hit by severe weather and the situation continues to remain critical due to high water levels.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, two men died in flooded basements in the cities of Solingen and Unna. Another death was reported in Rheinbach. Two firefighters were killed while trying to contain the situation in the towns of Altena and Werdohl. In the district of Euskirchen, eight people have been reported dead. There have been widespread power cuts in the state, with 135.000 homes reportedly left without power. In Leverkusen, a power cut led to 468 patients needing to be evacuated from hospital. City authorities announced that intensive care patients were moved to other facilities overnight.
Public transport grinds to a halt
Transport in the North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, has been severely disrupted, with roads closed and public transport either cancelled or delayed. Deutsche Bahn has called on travellers to cancel or postpone their journeys to and from North Rhine-Westphalia if possible. Several S-Bahn and regional lines have been closed or have been subject to heavy delays. There are also major disruptions on the Autobahn in areas that have been affected by the weather.
Heavy rain set to continue
The German Meteorological Service (DWD) has reported that heavy rain and stormy weather will continue and spread to other areas of the country. While Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland are expected to get the worst of it, the DWD has also issued severe weather warnings for areas in the east, south and centre of Germany. The severe weather warning extends to large parts of Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony Anhalt.